Bangladesh will be looking to go one better than last time, where they reached the final before losing to India, as they look to win their first ever Asia Cup title. The Bangla Tigers can be a force to reckon with in Asian conditions and have become more consistent in the last couple of years. In the likes of Tamim Iqbal, Shakib-Al-Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mashrafe Mortaza, the team has developed a strong core with support from the likes of Mahmudullah, Mustafizur Rahman and Mehidy Hassan.
Placed in Group B along with Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, Bangladesh find themselves in the group of death but are also capable of topping the group. Here is a SWOT analysis of the team along with a prediction for the tournament.
Strengths – Bangladesh have more than one match winners in the squad with the likes of Shakib, Tamim and Rahim. The team has been together for quite some time and has gained valuable experience in playing pressure matches. They have a strong batting line-up with Tamim leading the charge and likes of Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah playing the finisher roles. Each player knows his role clearly. The spin department is led by the experienced Shakib along with young Mehidy Hassan and Nazmul Islam.
Weaknesses – The team often comes close to the finish line but can crumble under pressure. They have lost matches from winning situations in the last few years and that is something the team needs to sort out mentally.
Bangladesh have injury concerns too. Shakib is not 100% and was even in danger of missing the tournament as he was supposed to have a surgery on his finger. Tamim too has a finger injury.
Opportunities - Musafizur Rahman is back in the team but the left-arm pacer has been blowing hot and cold over the last couple of years. After a sensational debut, Mustafizur's graph has gone up and down with injuries plaguing his career. The board is also not pleased with the youngster as he is often seen playing T20 leagues but finds himself sidelined for the national team. With Mortaza not getting any younger, Mustafizur is likely to lead the pace bowling attack and can make a key difference at death. His performance with the ball will play a key role in deciding the team’s fate in the tournament.
Threats – Bangladesh find themselves in a tricky group and cannot afford to take their foot off the pedal. They can’t take Afghanistan lightly and the first aim for Mortaza’s men will be to qualify for the super fours.
Prediction – If they don’t implode, Bangladesh should qualify for the super four but a place in the final is what the team should be ideally aiming for
Team: Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Mosaddek Hossain, Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Mominul Haque, Shakib Al Hasan, Ariful Haque, Mahmudullah, Mehidy Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Mashrafe Mortaza, Abu Hider, Nazmul Islam