By Wisden India Staff in Sylhet
Bangladesh Women captain focuses on scoring more in the Power Play overs
A full house was in attendance to cheer every move the team made. It galvanised the players early on when they bowled out a strong West Indies batting line-up for 115, but the pressure that came with an escalating asking rate played on their minds as Bangladesh fell by the wayside as quickly as it got on top.
As Salma slowly opened up in the country's native language Bangla, the thoughts flowed freely and the disappointment in her voice became all too evident. After all, no Bangladesh batter is yet to score a half-century in Twenty20 Internationals.
"I'm not able to understand why we're falling short with our batting," she said. "If we have to challenge the top teams, we have to improve our batting. Bowlers can only do half the job; you can't expect them to deliver all the time."
One could understand where she was coming from. Bangladesh made 81, 65 and 85 in its last three T20Is against India coming into the ICC Women's World T20 2014. Prior to the series against India too, it crossed 100 just once in the two matches against Pakistan at home.
The team had played just 18 T20Is coming into its Group B fixture. It was understandable that its biggest challenge would be to overcome jangling nerves and the weight of expectation from the crowd.
"I would say the turning point was when we lost our fourth wicket," she said. "Before that, we entertained thoughts of a win, but our problem has been that we just keep sliding once we lose one or two wickets in a hurry, that's something we'll need to improve. Also our inability to score quickly in the Power Play put us under pressure. If we would have hit a few boundaries, things could have been different."
But not all was lost for the hosts. Unlike fellow debutants Ireland, the bowling unit looked quite confident and stuck to its task quite efficiently. The spinners, particularly Salma and Fahima Khatun, put the brakes on the scoring and also managed to stop the rampaging Deandra Dottin from providing West Indies a final flourish.
"I’ve always maintained that our bowling is pretty strong," said Salma. "We’ve been able to prove it more often than not whenever we have played. Today was another example of that."
While the fans clapped and cheered right till the end, Salma expressed disappointment at not being able to give them a gift on Independence Day. "It was wonderful to play in front of a capacity crowd, unfortunately we couldn't win today. Nervousness wasn't really a problem because we have played in front of big crowds a couple of times before. Hopefully they will come back and support us in the remaining games too."