Bangladesh have made the title round of the Asia Cup in two of the last three editions, and Mahmudullah, their senior batsman, is hoping for a better result this time.
The 14th chapter of the tournament – usually a 50-over competition but tweaked to being a Twenty20 and a one-day event every alternate edition of late – will start in Dubai on 15 September; matches will also be played in Abu Dhabi.
Bangladesh, who trained in Dhaka for a week before making the trip across, will be led by Mashrafe Mortaza as usual, with the likes of Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mustafizur Rahman and Mahmudullah, the finisher, the mainstays of the team.
Bangladesh team have departed today for participating in Asia Cup UAE 2018. pic.twitter.com/foJC1HtATZ— Bangladesh Cricket (@BCBtigers) September 9, 2018
Their campaign starts with a clash against Sri Lanka in Dubai on the opening day, a match Bangladesh must win to be in front when the second – and final – group-stage game against Afghanistan takes place on 20 September.
“I think we have got some good past memories against Sri Lanka from a few months back, but Sri Lanka is a very good team, and they are playing very good cricket and we have to be at our best to beat them. We have been preparing quite well, so hopefully we can deliver,” said Mahmudullah.
That said, Sri Lanka did beat Bangladesh to win the triangular series in Dhaka in January this year.
Mahmudullah has been one of the most dependable men in the Bangladesh batting line-up, and is usually trusted with the responsibility of finishing innings.
“It always feels good to contribute to the team if the team is winning it feels even better,” he said. “I will try to keep it simple and try and contribute as much as I can.
“To be honest, I think all the teams are playing very good cricket at the moment, every team is very important and we can’t afford to be relaxed, and we need to take it game by game so that we can do well in the first stage.”
One of the things that have played a huge role in Bangladesh’s recent rise on the world stage – they are No.7 in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s ODI Team Rankings at the moment – is the fanatical support they get in most parts of the world.
“Hopefully we are going to get a really good crowd here because plenty of Bangladeshis live here, and we hope they will come out and support us and we hope to deliver some good results for them,” said Mahmudullah, speaking for the whole team.
Bangladesh reached the final of the 50-over Asia Cup in 2012 and the T20 version in 2016, both times at home before losing to Pakistan and India respectively. This time, they will want to go one better, for which they must get the better of Sri Lanka to start with.
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