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ICC World Cup 2019 | Upbeat Bangladesh Must Play Roles Perfectly to Make Progress

This will be Mashrafe Mortaza's last 50-over showpiece event and his team will be eager to give their skipper a fitting farewell. Bangladesh look quite balanced on paper and will have to be calculative with their approach if they want to get past the group stage.

Hardik Worah |May 22, 2019, 6:02 PM IST
ICC World Cup 2019 | Upbeat Bangladesh Must Play Roles Perfectly to Make Progress

"This is the strongest World Cup team that Bangladesh have ever had. We lost many finals in the recent past. Maybe, a big achievement is waiting for us in the future. It (winning) is not impossible" - Mushfiqur Rahim.

Enough with the upsets. Enough with winning hearts. Enough with learnings and coming back stronger next time.

Bangladesh are coming into the 2019 World Cup after winning their first multi-nation series in Ireland where they defeated a second-string West Indian side along with the hosts in a convincing manner to create a history.

Ever since making their maiden knockout stage appearance in the 2015 World Cup, Bangladesh's stocks have only gone up in the multi-team events. They first made it to the semifinals of the 2017 Champions Trophy and then almost won the 2018 Asia Cup, before losing to India in the final.

Bangladesh have won 17 out of their last 27 ODIs since 2018 and have managed wins against the likes of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and West Indies. They have a team which is a mix of youth and experience and if they can get the better of at least three formidable units, Bangladesh can very well find themselves in the semifinals. It is certainly not going to be an easy task but with the riches that they possess, Bangladesh are capable of beating anyone on their day.

This will be Mashrafe Mortaza's last 50-over showpiece event and his team will be eager to give their skipper a fitting farewell. Bangladesh look quite balanced on paper and will have to be calculative with their approach if they want to get past the group stage.

Here, we list down the squad build-up and how Bangladesh can give themselves an opportunity to qualify for the semifinals, and then, you never know.

Solid Contribution from Senior Players

While there are quite a few young talented superstars in the squad, Bangladesh's fate will largely depend on how Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah and Mortaza perform. The first four are in some pretty decent batting form and have done well in the past in these major ICC events. It was because of Mahmudullah's back-to-back centuries Bangladesh qualified for the quarterfinals in the 2015 World Cup, while Tamim, Shakib and Mushfiqur played their part both in 2015 World Cup and 2017 Champions Trophy.

With Shakib batting at No. 3, he along with Tamim will be expected to lay a good platform for Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah who will be providing the finishing touch to Bangladesh's innings.

Meanwhile, Mortaza might be well past his prime but the onus will be on the 35-year-old to lead the young bowling attack. The right-arm seamer has picked up 33 wickets since 2018 and has operated at a very good economy rate of 4.99. He only took six wickets in the tri-series against West Indies and Ireland but kept one end tight by not giving away many runs. Despite going through multiple surgeries, it's Mortaza's passion that has kept him going, and his same passion and captaincy experience can prove to be the circuit breaker for him and his side in his last World Cup.

Time for Young Talents to Step Up

Soumya Sarkar has been around for quite some time now and is now slowly starting to deliver on a consistent basis. Sarkar only featured in three games in the tri-series but managed 50-plus scores in each one of them. The left-hander will have to share the burden with his partner Tamim.

Apart from Sarkar, Sabbir Rahman, Mosaddek Hossain, Liton Das and Mohammad Mithun are the other batsmen who will be itching to make their presence felt in the marquee event. The latter three looked good in patches in the tri-series but they will have to perform on a consistent if they have to be a part of playing XI throughout the tournament.

A Lot Depends on All-rounders

The likes of Shakib, Mahmudullah (depending on his shoulder injury), Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehidy Hasan and Mosaddek provide that much-required balance to the squad. The surfaces in England are going to be as batting-friendly as it comes and Bangladesh's bowling attack is not something other teams will be wary of. In that case, the job of all-rounders will become even more important as captains would want as many options as possible in their bank.

Bangladesh also lack an x-factor, a player who can turn around games out of nowhere, and that will make roles of these all-rounders even more important as the team management will want as much as possible from their "three-dimensional" players.

Pacers Need to Hunt in Packs

Unlike Australia, South Africa, India and New Zealand to an extent, Bangladesh doesn't have a match-winning fast bowling attack. While Mortaza, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain and Abu Jayed can be reliable on any given day, they will have to work as a unit if they want to emerge successful on tracks that will be nothing short of batting paradise.

Mortaza's strength lies on his control and the right-arm seamer will have to make sure that their opponents do not get off to fliers. Meanwhile, Rubel will have to be used smartly and his job will be to bowl quick and give his team crucial wickets at important junctions.

Considering the nature of tracks, batsmen will look to go after the bowlers from the word go and that's when Mustafizur is most dangerous. The left-arm seamer has got quite a few tricks up his sleeves and that might come handy in England. Jayed, 25, picked up a five-wicket haul in only his second ODI but will most probably be used as a back-up option.

Reasonable Approach

Bangladesh will have to make sure that they win their encounters against Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and West Indies and then win at least two games against solid teams. They will also have to make sure they don't lose by big margins against big teams. They did well while batting second in Ireland and that's something Bangladesh will look to do again. If they bat smartly, Bangladesh have the batting to constantly reach that 330-run mark, but will have to up their game in the bowling department if they want to have a slightly longer run in the competition.

Squad: Mashrafe Bin Mortaza (Capt), Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan (Vice Captain), Mohammad Mithun, Shabbir Rahaman, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Abu Jayed

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2 New Zealand 2829 109
3 England 4366 104
4 South Africa 3177 102
5 Australia 3672 102
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1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
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1 Pakistan 8366 270
2 Australia 6986 269
3 England 5568 265
4 South Africa 4720 262
5 India 9349 260
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