Bangladesh ICC World Twenty20 2016 Tournament Preview & Guide
Bangladesh’s progress in recent times bodes well and its potent bowling attack could pose problems for other teams
06 March 2016 00:11
Bangladesh surprised many by knocking out England in the ICC World Cup 2015, advancing to the quarterfinals for the first time. It ensured the victory against England was no flash in the pan, and has since inflicted ODI series defeats on Pakistan, India, South Africa and Zimbabwe and qualified through to the Asia Cup T20 final on the back of wins over United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
The Bangladesh side may pose a threat in the ICC World T20 2016. They’ve got enough experience of playing in the subcontinent
One of the main reasons for Bangladesh’s rise in limited-overs cricket is the mushrooming of domestic T20 leagues that has helped it unearth more potential.
In Bangladesh’s case, it was the Bangladesh Premier League that the team has benefitted immensely from.
History: One of the team’s greatest moments in the ICC World T20 came in the inaugural edition in 2007, where it beat West Indies by six wickets to eliminate the Caribbean side from the tournament. It came into the tournament having played only three matches in the format but made a mark immediately – riding on counter-attacking half-centuries from Aftab Ahmed and Mohammad Ashraful, Bangladesh made short work of the 165-run target set by West Indies. Bangladesh advanced into the Super 8 stage, where it lost all three matches and made a quiet exit.
Bangladesh didn’t enjoy a lot of success in the next three editions of the tournament, losing both its matches in the group stage in 2009, 2010 and 2012. However, in the 2014 edition, it made most of the home advantage and advanced to the Super 10 stage after beating Afghanistan and Nepal in the group stage. Victory proved to be elusive in the Super 10 stage as Bangladesh lost all its four matches and finished tenth among 16 teams.
Pool: Bangladesh is in Group A, alongside Ireland, Netherlands and Oman.
Captain: Mashrafe Mortaza
Coach: Chandika Hathurusingha
While most teams bank on experience when it comes to major global tournaments, Bangladesh is pinning its hopes on youngsters for the World T20 2016. Bangladesh’s heady mix of youth and experience has helped the side beat heavyweights like South Africa (2-1), India (2-1), Zimbabwe (3-0), Pakistan (3-0) in the ODI series in 2015-16 season.
The selectors chose to stick with almost the same squad which drew the four-match T20I series against Zimbabwe at home in January; Nasir Hossain, the all-rounder, and Mohammad Mithun, the wicketkeeper-batsman, are the only additions to the original squad.
The change in fortunes in the ODIs has rubbed off in the shortest format too, as Bangladesh qualified for the final of the Asia Cup T20 on the back of comfortable wins over UAE, Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the group stage.
The experience of Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mashrafe Mortaza coupled with the youthful exuberance of Soumya Sarkar, Sabbir Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman, Al-Amin Hossain and Taskin Ahmed makes Bangladesh a side capable of going from strength to strength in the subcontinent conditions.
It will take pride in its performance in the Asia Cup, where its batsmen and bowlers fired in unison to pull off three wins in a row and set up a clash with India in the final. Against UAE, its bowlers, led by Rahman, flattened UAE while defending 133. When its openers failed to get going against Sri Lanka, Sabbir Rahman’s classy 54-ball 80 ensured Bangladesh’s bowlers had a competitive 147 to defend. But it was the five-wicket win over Pakistan – despite missing the services of Mustafizur - that capped off Bangladesh’s dramatic turnaround in recent times.
Gone are the days when Bangladesh used to depend on a particular batsman to get runs or a bowler to do damage with the ball. This unit has ticked most of the boxes - a strong batting line-up, spinners like Shakib, Arafat Sunny and Mahmudullah who combine well with a dangerous pace attack that could pose a huge threat for batsmen in Indian pitches.
Recent Form: Lost to Zimbabwe by 18 runs, lost to India by 45 runs, beat UAE by 51 runs, beat Sri Lanka by 23 runs, and beat Pakistan by five wickets.
Star Player: Mushfiqur Rahim
The diminutive wicketkeeper-batsman is a classy bat with ability to play all around the wicket and he can pack a punch when required too. Mushfiqur has consistently been among Bangladesh's most reliable batsmen and the team will look to him to shepherd the middle order along. Known for his ability to take on bowlers during crunch situations, Mushfiqur has delivered goods more often than not. In 49 T20I matches, Mushfiqur has amassed 655 runs at an impressive strike-rate of 112.93.
One to Watch: Mustafizur Rahman
A left-arm pacer who varies his offcutters with great success, Mustafizur shot to fame when he picked up successive five-wicket hauls in his first two ODIs - only the second bowler in history to do so - and helped Bangladesh secure its first bilateral series win over India. In 10 T20Is, nine ODIs and two Tests, Mustafizur averages less than 18 with the ball in all formats. Recently, he became the first Bangladesh international be signed by Sussex for its T20 and 50-overs matches. Currently, Mustafizur is recuperating from a side strain that he sustained during the Asia Cup, and Bangladesh would hope the seamer is back in time for World T20 2016.
#That6hitter: Soumya Sarkar
With a reputation of hitting huge sixes, Soumya Sarkar created ripples in international cricket during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, not so much for his runs tally but his attractive stroke-making. It is his ability to mix unorthodox ramps with attractive drives and cuts that evokes awe and admiration from fans and fellow players alike. Recently, in the Asia Cup T20 encounter against Pakistan, Sarkar shook off his rough patch with a match-winning 48, that included a well-timed monstrous six off Anwar Ali that landed way back into the stands. In 11 T20I matches, Sarkar has hit eight sixes.
In 2011 Tamim Iqbal was named as one of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack’s four Cricketers of the Year.
Shakib Al Hasan is first player ever to top the ICC all-rounder ranking in all three formats at the same time.
Mushfiqur Rahim made his international debut when he was 16 years old.
Key Match: v Ireland, March 8, HPCA Stadium, Dharamsala
The top eight teams have a direct entry into the second stage of the ICC WT20 but Bangladesh, ranked 10th in the ICC T20I rankings, will have to go through a qualifying round. Its second match in the round, against Ireland, would be a crucial contest, considering the history between the two sides in the 2009 edition of the tournament. Ireland remarkably progressed to the Super Eight stage after a famous six-wicket win over Bangladesh in the ICC World T20 2009 in England.
The two sides have since met thrice in the format, with Bangladesh winning all three T20Is in Ireland in 2012.
What people are saying about them:
“I found a bunch of talented youngsters who were eager to perform. The challenge was to change the mindset and bring clarity in communication. Bangladesh has the potential to win big tournaments and this is going to happen soon.” - Chandika Hathurusingha, Bangladesh coach
“The Bangladesh side may pose a threat in the ICC World T20 2016. They’ve got enough experience of playing in the subcontinent.” – Matthew Hayden, former Australia opener
Pommie Mbangwa Prediction: Super 10 Stage
Whilst Bangladesh have been playing better on the international circuit generally, I feel their strongest suit is the 50-over game and once they come through the group stage, they are in the tougher of the two Super 10 groups. The usual suspects for them are Mashrafe Mortaza, Mushfiqur Rahim, Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan, but the rise of Mustafizur Rahman has been exciting and he is one to watch at the tournament.
Squad: Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Mithun, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim, Soumya Sarkar, Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Al-Amin Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Arafat Sunny, Abu Hider, Nurul Hasan.
Wednesday, March 9: v Netherlands, HPCA Stadium, Dharamsala
Friday, March 11: v Ireland, HPCA Stadium, Dharamsala
Sunday, March 13: v Oman, HPCA Stadium, Dharamsala