Bangladesh, who came into the tournament ranked sixth in the world, suffered an eight-wicket hammering at the hands of Australia in Dubai to finish at rock bottom in Group 1 on Thursday. They showed some spark after their opening loss to Scotland to bounce back with two wins in qualifying. Skipper Mahmudullah Riyad said Bangladesh are still searching for answers to their dismal showing of five straight losses in the Super 12 stage of the Twenty20 World Cup.
"We are still to find our feet in T20 cricket. We are playing well at home but in away conditions, we are failing. We have seen the level of improvement we need in order to compete with the best teams," a disappointed Mahmudullah said after another crushing victory.
Bangladesh came into the tournament with convincing wins over Zimbabwe, Australia and New Zealand, albeit on home pitches that suited their batsmen and style of play. Bangladesh's only win against a full-member nation in the T20 World Cup remains their six-wicket triumph over West Indies in the 2007 inaugural edition. They lost the opener to Sri Lanka after posting 171 and a humdinger against the West Indies by three runs but barely put up a fight in the other three games.
The post-match press conference after their last group game started with brutal questions for Mahmudullah who was asked whether he will retire from the shortest format. "I can't comment on it. It is not in my hands. The decision is the cricket boards. I have tried to keep the team together, to get the best out of the team. But definitely, there were shortcomings from my side. We didn't perform well in this tournament. I'm still searching for answers, trying to find out what is missing, what we need to do.
"We sat together to work out where we are lacking and why we can't perform better. Except for the Sri Lanka and West Indies games, we performed poorly throughout the tournament."
Shakib Al Hasan remained the team's go-to man with bat and ball in almost all of their matches before he pulled out of the tournament due to a hamstring injury ahead of the final two. Mahmudullah, who scored 169 runs with an average of just over 28, said the team kept searching for momentum but faltered.
"It is quite complicated at the moment," Mahmudullah said. "We are a team that works on flow. If we see how we played against Australia or New Zealand, we started well and we kept doing well. It's the same in big tournaments like the T20 World Cup: if we could beat Sri Lanka in the first game, we could have that flow and boost our confidence."
Coach Russell Domingo's position is also under scanner with the team having just four training sessions after their arrival in Muscat for the tournament. But Mahmudullah refused to play the blame game.
"There is no issue between the players and the coaching panel. And about keeping the coach or not, the board (BCB) shall have the best answer to this. I can speak of the issues of the team but I cannot comment on who should remain or should not remain as in charge (coach) of the team."
(With inputs from ICC and AFP)