cricket:image:1437951 [1400x883]
cricket:image:1437951 [1400x883] (Credit: Getty Images)

Van Dijk Dutch must stop Mbapp as a team

South Africa's decision to bat first in New York on Monday, at a ground that they have won two matches chasing at the T20 World Cup 2024, was actually a tribute to Bangladesh's bowling.

"Third game on the wicket," Player of the Match Heinrich Klaasen said about the decision. "These guys are incredible when the wicket becomes slow. So that was the biggest reason why we didn't want to chase 120. Because the wicket was definitely better than other games. But given Bangladesh, when pressure is on, and they have to go into cutters, they've got some of the world's best cutter bowlers and their spinners are high quality. So that was the biggest reason why we chose to bat first."

Then South Africa found themselves in trouble at 23 for 4, but chose to pull out of it like you would in the middle overs of an ODI. They went into a T20I knowing aiming for just a run a ball, not minding staying even below six per over as long as they were just a boundary away.

"I think David [Miller] showed us in the previous game [against Netherlands] how to bat on this wicket and it's almost a similar way that we bat in the middle overs in a one-day game," Klaasen said. "So, our mindset is not even close to T20 cricket. You just want to get in and find a way to bat at a run a ball. And we know you're one or two hits away just for going over the run-a-ball strike-rate."

Hridoy: 'I should have finished the game'

Three teams have been involved in close chases in these conditions. South Africa, under Miller's stewardship, won despite never getting ahead of the chase. Pakistan lost using the same approach. Bangladesh lost an early wicket, but never did - or were never allowed to - get ahead of the chase. Their best batter on the day, Towhid Hridoy, said there wasn't much wrong with going at around a run a ball, just that he should have gone on for longer.

"From that position I should have finished the match," Hridoy said when asked if Bangladesh could have perhaps tried to get ahead of the rate sooner. "It's difficult for new batsmen to adjust to the conditions. In that position, I should have finished the match."

Hridoy fell in the 18th over, leaving Bangladesh 21 to get off 17 with five wickets in hand. One would back the chasing side in most conditions, but this pitch has been difficult and the outfield slow.

When you lose by just four runs, you do tend to assign greater significance to otherwise smaller events. Hridoy was left looking at some umpiring calls without complaining about them. One of them was an lbw that was given out but they got it reversed only to lose out on possible leg-byes.

"See, ICC rule is not in my hands, but at that time those four runs were very important for us," Hridoy said. "The umpires are also human beings, and they could have made a mistake. But we had two-three more wides, which were not given. So, in a match like this, where hardly a run is being made in a low-scoring match, one or two runs are a big factor. So, I think those four runs or two wide runs were close calls. Even my out was the umpire's call."