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    Sarkar laments lack of contribution from middle order


    Despite Soumya Sarkar (47) and Mohammad Saifuddin's (39 not out) spirited efforts, Bangladesh slipped to a 20-run loss in the first T20I against South Africa in Bloemfontein, on Thursday (October 26). One of the key factors for the visitors' loss was the experienced batsmen - Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Sabbir Rahman and Mahmudullah, struggled to to make significant contributions.

    Sarkar, who top-scored for Bangladesh, acknowledged the fact that the middle-order batsmen couldn't take responsibility and anchor the innings. "If someone from No. 3 to 6 could have played a big innings in the last 10 overs, it would have helped us," Sarkar noted. "Then we would have had a set batsman at the crease in the last 10 overs, making things easier for us. They made nearly 200 runs but we also made 175. If one batsman did well in the middle overs, we could have won the game easily. But this [performance] will give us confidence that we can also score 200 runs," he added.

    Sarkar also supported Bangladesh's decision to pick four seamers and two front line spinners, instead of opting for the extra batsman. Over a period of time, batsmen have generally held the upper hand while playing at the Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein. Incidentally, there hasn't been a single score below the 150-mark in T20Is played so far at the ground.

    "If you want to talk about negative things, there are a lot of things to talk about. If the batsmen did well and we played one less (bowler), you would have said we should have picked one extra bowler. Now that the batsmen couldn't do the job, you are saying we needed one more batsman.

    "There's no end to these things; you think that we had one batsman less, but our captain and team management thought this was the best way to go about things," he noted.

    The left-hander, though, agreed that the visiting batsmen have to rotate the strike in order to reduce the dot ball percentage. "Dot balls are a big problem in T20s. We have to reduce that in the next game. Even when we bowled or fielded, we should have saved more runs or not given away the no-ball that went for four. They would have scored 20 runs fewer. Chasing 170-odd would have been a different story," he said.

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