Jahanara Alam came to the Women's World T20 hoping to blossom into an allrounder. Now the former Bangladesh captain is wondering if her team will stay in the tournament long enough for that to happen. Having picked up 3 for 21 - including a first-ball strike - to limit Sri Lanka to a mere 97, she still somehow ended up on the losing side.
"This was a good total to chase, I think, and we even have a good batting side," Jahanara said after the match. "But I don't know what happened. I was very disappointed for us, definitely. We couldn't click with the bat. But we're still hoping, with our confidence next match we'll work harder with the bat."
Bangladesh have chased bigger targets in T20Is before. But conditions in Gros Islet - where it has been raining quite heavily - proved rather difficult. And although their bowlers have been splendid - they restricted the defending champions West Indies to 106 earlier in the tournament - their batting continues to be brittle. The Asia Cup champions had the chance to make a big statement on Wednesday and it wasn't like they weren't used to the conditions in the Caribbean.
"I did preparation very well, and before [we] came [to] Guyana, we had good practice facilities over in Grenada," Jahanara said. "Over there we spent seven days, and we played three practice matches against Under-17 girls and boys. And there I went to bat at No. 3. And yes, in practice matches also I did well. So I had confidence and had set a big goal of becoming an allrounder again in this World T20. But it's not happening. With only one match remaining, I don't know what happened. But I will try my best next match with the bat definitely."
Being bowled out for 72, with only three batsmen getting to double-figures, has dampened the team's spirits, but Bangladesh are still holding out hope. "We had a goal that we don't want to play any more qualifiers," Jahanara said. "We had a goal also that we wanted to play semifinals, but we lost that after this game. But we still have a chance to increase our ranking if we win against South Africa. Who knows, something can happen, cricket is an unpredictable game."
Jahanara will be crucial to that considering her form as a new-ball bowler. She broke the stumps of Sri Lanka opener Yasoda Mendis first ball of the match and then knocked over two more batsmen in the final over of the innings. "After getting a wicket, I love to enjoy that moment. I forget everything, whatever is going on around me," she said. "I love to get a wicket bowled, and when I get that, I just love it. The most emotional thing is when I'm not getting a wicket... I'm giving lots of runs off my bowling. That time I feel so sad. I feel like I couldn't do anything for my team."
"They [Bangladesh fans] like cricket very much, but the way we played, they are hoping too much on us... I think they are disappointed, definitely. But I can say to them don't lose hope on us."
Now a centrally contracted player, Jahanara remembered a time when she didn't even like the sport. "Actually I've been not forced by anyone, not been inspired by anyone to become a professional cricketer. Yes, I'm a professional cricketer, besides I'm doing my study, my graduation is not complete yet. Before I came into cricket, I used to play handball and volleyball. At that time my age was 11. Three years I played that, and when cricket started in my country, and I was offered to come to cricket. I said, okay, no problem, I can. I got full support from my family, and that is the main positive things in my life.
"Before coming to cricket, I didn't even watch a cricket match. I didn't know any player, women's or men's. I didn't like cricket because I felt the rules were very tough. I couldn't remember what they were. After I came into cricket, I just loved it, and this is in my blood now. I can't separate it from me."
The same might apply to the Bangladesh fans as well. "It is a cricket-crazy nation," Jahanara said. "They like cricket very much, but the way we played, they are hoping too much from us. We should have won this match. I think they are disappointed, definitely. But I can say to them don't lose hope on us. Please keep faith in us."