Bangladesh's batting crisis continued as they succumbed to a 86-run defeat against New Zealand in the second ODI in Dhaka. But the return of Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah will be encouraging, as both looked sharp although they couldn't kick on after getting starts. Mahmudullah top-scored with 49 before hitting Cole McConchi's long hop to short fine-leg; Tamim had earlier gloved while trying a lap-sweep against Ish Sodhi after making 44.
Tamim meanwhile had missed most of the Afghanistan series in July, amid his retirement U-turn. He also missed the Asia Cup through a long-standing back injury. Tamim admitted that his return to action was a nervous one, especially with the bat, but once he timed a few shots, he felt better.
"I was nervous today. I will be lying if I said it was just another game," he said. "Whatever has happened in the last couple of months, I had nerves going out to bat. But after the first over, it came down. It was nice to hit the balls again. I think it was good to be out there but there's certainly still a lot of discomfort in my back. The physios are trying to overcome it."
Mahmudullah also took a bit of time to settle down, but he was forceful through all the wickets that fell at the other end. Tamim said that Mahmudullah reacted well to the situation when he came out to bat when they were 70 for 4.
"I thought he was excellent. I was in a small partnership with him. His intent looked really good. I didn't feel he was out for six or seven months. He looked good. He fielded well."
Tamim felt that though Bangladesh could have kept New Zealand down to 200 or 210, the pitch was good enough to chase down the 255-run target, urging the team to take a serious look at their top-order collapses. Only once in the last seven innings have Bangladesh gone past 100 runs before losing four wickets.
"This run chase was gettable on this wicket. I think we could have restricted them around 210-215. But this was a good wicket. I don't think we got out to really good deliveries.
"We have to look into (losing four wickets early) very seriously going into the World Cup. We can't win a lot of games if we lose four or five wickets quickly. We lost early wickets but there were good patches today. But to win any game, you have to stop this (collapse). We have to look to minimise back-to-back wickets. The coach and captain aren't the only ones in charge of this, the responsibility is among all of us."