Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza has rued the fact that their bowlers could not bowl the short ball at the right time in their semi-final match against India in the ICC Champions Trophy here.
"It could have been a big total. The way Tamim (Iqbal) and Mushfiqur (Rahim) were batting, we were heading for a big total. But once they were out to a part-time bowler we lost too many wickets in the middle overs. We were on top when they were batting and I thought we could have scored 330 to 340 if they were there," Mashrafe was quoted as saying by Bangladesh's newspaper 'The Daily Star' after Thursday's match which they lost by 9 wickets.
"I think we did not bowl in the right areas. If you don't bowl in the right areas the short ball is not effective. If you concede one or two fours and then bowl that short delivery, that doesn't work because the batsman by that time feels on top," Mashrafe, who took the only wicket of Shikhar Dhawan as India cruised to 265/1 in 40.1 overs, added.
Batting first Bangladesh posted 264/7 in 50 overs. Part-time offie Kedar Jadhav took the crucial wickets of Tamim Iqbal (70) and Mushfiqur Rahim (61).
Mortaza said that they knew it would be a difficult game but they started well and were not feeling any big-match pressure.
"The way Tamim and Mushfiqur batted and the way Sabbir started it showed that we were not feeling any pressure. But we lost our way in the middle of the game," he said, adding that people always criticise you after a defeat.
Mortaza though defended the Bangladesh bowlers, despite the thrashing they received from the Indian batsmen.
"We have a good bowling attack. But sometimes it does not work, especially on this kind of wicket and bowling in the second half is always difficult. Yes, we will have to learn how to stop runs in such a difficult situation for the bowlers.
"It is always tough to bowl for wickets in these conditions and especially against a batting line-up like India," Mortaza said.
"We will have to learn how to bowl in good areas on this kind of wicket and put pressure on the opposition."
Asked his favourite to win the title, Mortaza said: "It's a final and you can't predict which team will win the title. Both have played good cricket in the tournament so far and I wish both teams good luck."
"I can't say why they went after a part-timer. Maybe they thought it would easier to go against a part-time bowler," he said when asked if the shots played by Mushfiqur and Tamim were wise.
He said that Bangladesh have improved in terms of skill and technique.
"What we need is more mental maturity in this sort of situation. Once you are mentally ready, anything can be possible. It was a very disappointing result for us. We were in a situation in this game where we were controlling things, but like a few previous occasions we lost the momentum and never got it back," the captain said.
Mortaza also defended the non-performing young players.
"It's easy to drop a player if he doesn't perform. But we will also have to think if we have enough quality replacement players. I think it won't be wise to go for drastic changes. We will have to groom what we have so they can get matured enough for the next World Cup," he added.
When asked whether he will considering continuing till the 2019 World Cup, the 33-year-old Mashrafe said: "I've still not decided. Maybe, maybe not, I'm still enjoying my cricket. So that is where I stand at the moment."