The visitors staged a 215-run chase to defeat hosts Sri Lanka in their second match of the tournament, rebounding from a loss in their opener against India.
Bangladesh, 10th in the world T20 rankings behind Afghanistan, will be in strong contention for the tri-series final if they beat table-toppers India on Wednesday.
Mahmudullah, who was named captain after Shakib Al Hasan was ruled out of the tri-series due to injury, said the minnows entered the series wanting “to create a Bangladesh brand of cricket”.
“I think the skills are there. We need to be smart to take that calculated risk,” he told reporters in Colombo, saying his side had to compensate for its lack of power hitters.
“Taking on a particular bowler who we think can be targeted, these sort of things we need to apply when we are playing. These things will give us that Bangladesh brand of T20 cricket.”
The Tigers have beaten top sides in Test and one-day internationals, but struggled to find consistency in the shortest format of the sport, having lost nine of their last 11 T20s.
Mahmudullah urged his bowlers to learn from their Indian counterparts, who have utilised the batting-friendly conditions at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
Spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar have also chipped in with disciplined bowling and crucial strikes.
Bangladesh’s left-arm quick Mustafizur Rahman has picked up five wickets in two matches but leaked close to 10 runs an over.
Mahmudullah backed his strike paceman to come good in the remaining matches in conditions he believes are tough for bowlers.
“I think he is a great bowler for our team, he has been doing really well. It’s just the wicket that suits the batsman most,” said Mahmudullah.
“Mustafiz is in great shape and is our strike bowler and I will always back him up.”
Bangladesh have never won a T20 tournament since they started playing the format in 2006.
India-Sri Lanka matches have become a bit of an internet joke, with a succession of bilateral matches leading to viewer fatigue. However, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) president Thilanga Sumathipala wants to see even more clashes between the subcontinent neighbours, comparing it to the Ashes series.
In the last nine months, India have toured Sri Lanka and hosted the islanders for two separate full tours. And the two teams are currently participating in the Nidahas Trophy T20 tri-series, also involving Bangladesh.
In all, the teams have played six Tests, eight ODIs and six T20s within nine months. Starting in July last year, India blanked Sri Lanka 3-0 in the Test series, 5-0 in ODIs while winning the one-off T20. Then Sri Lanka visited India late last year, losing the three-Test series 0-1, the ODI series 1-2 and T20 rubbers 0-3. And they have played two T20s in the tri-series so far.
SLC chief Sumathipala wants the teams to play each other even more.
“Australia is playing England in the Ashes many times. They play five Tests. So we feel we should play more with India. They are the number one side. Except this tournament, all were bilateral series agreed by the FTP (Future Tours Programme). It sometimes happens that teams play each other frequently while some don’t play for 6-7 years due to FTP pressures,” Sumathipala was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times during the inauguration of Sri Lanka’s new ‘Brain Centre’ for player development.
Middle order batsman KL Rahul became the first Indian to be out hit wicket in a T20 match but that didn’t stop Rohit Sharma’s team from registering a six-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the T20 tri-series on Monday.
Rahul, batting on 18 as India chased Sri Lanka’s total of 152-9, stepped onto the backfoot to play leg-spinner Jeevan Mendis on the on-side but disturbed the stumps with his heel. He thus became the first Indian and 10th overall to be out hit wicket in the shortest format.
However, despite his strange dismissal, India romped to a six-wicket win and avenged their five-wicket defeat in the first game against the hosts in the Nidahas Trophy.
Middle-order batsman Manish Pandey (42 not out) and wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik (39 not out) added 68 runs after Rahul’s dismissal to see the side home.
Earlier, fast bowler Shardul Thakur bagged 4-27 off his four overs as the Sri Lankans posted 152 in Colombo.
Kusal Mendis slammed a quickfire half-century to boost Sri Lanka’s total.
The opener hit three fours and as many sixes in his 38-ball knock after India won the toss and opted to bowl first at the R. Premadasa Stadium.
The match was reduced to 19-overs a side after the start was delayed by about an hour due to rain and a wet outfield.
Mendis, though, got little support from the other batsmen as the hosts kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
Paceman Thakur was the best bowler on show while up-and-coming off-spinner Washington Sundar (2-21) helped India fight back after leaking 94 runs in the first 10 overs.