When Bangladesh begin their World Cup campaign against Afghanistan today, they will be wary of the bad run that they have had in the ICC World Twenty20 so far. While there is no doubt that they enter the mega event with lots of hopes and dreams, a glance at their statistics however paints a rather bleak picture; an aspect that they desperately need to improve upon.
While Bangladesh began their World Twenty20 career with a brilliant win against the West Indies in 2007, they have failed to win a match in the event ever since. Of the 11 games that they have played in world cups, they won just once and lost 10 consecutive matches. It's a jinx that they will want to break when they take on Afghanistan today.
The players' records, as expected, reflects that of the team's. Shakib Al Hasan with 252 runs is Bangladesh's highest run-scorer in the tournament. However, that has come at an average of 23. Opener Tamim Iqbal has a disappointing average of 13.6. Mushfiqur Rahim's 13.71 is slightly better.
The batting partnerships column, which has the potential to change the entire rhythm of a T20 match, also displays disheartening figures. On the whole, the Tigers have just had five 50-plus stands in the World Twenty20 with the highest being 109 between Mohammad Ashraful and Aftab Ahmed in their sole victory.
The bowling department bears a similar outlook. Shakib with 12 wickets is once again the highest wicket-taker and is the only bowler to have an economy rate below seven. Mashrafe Bin Mortaza has an average of 48.85 while Rubel Hossain's rises to 80.
What Bangladesh's players need to do is be inspired by their performances in the recent domestic matches, which saw a number of players excel.
For instance, in 2013, Shakib took 52 wickets in 38 T20 games and was the fourth highest wicket-taker overall. In a T20 competition held recently, young Sabbir Rahman scored 268 runs in seven matches at an average of 53.60, the highest of the tournament. Opener Anamul Haque with 298 runs in the tournament was the highest run-scorer. Young pacer Al-Amin Hossain surprised many by topping the wickets column in the tournament at an average of just 14.76.
While there's no doubt that the likes of Shakib and Mushfiqur will hold the key for the team, the plus point for the hosts is the number of talented young players that they have in the side. The likes of Sabbir, Al-Amin and even Forhad Reza might not be known that well to the other teams and can prove to be surprise packages.
With the world event taking place in their own backyard, there is no better opportunity for them to finally get a move on in T20 cricket.