• Friday, February 27, 2015

Dhaka Bank Cup 2014

Can Tigers turn the tables?

Sports Reporter

Bangladesh have gradually been delving into one of their worst ODI performances in a calendar year. And the current stats -- 11 defeats in 12 matches -- are likely to get worse at St Kitts today, unless Mushfiqur Rahim and company can miraculously gain their confidence levels back.

The last time the Tigers went winless in their first 12 ODIs of a year was in 2003 when they ended up losing 20 off their 21 matches. The year before that was not as fruitful either, with the Tigers losing 13 out of the 14 ODIs.

To naked eyes, Bangladesh's problem is quite clear. The top-order needs to come to the party. Apart from Anamul Haque and Tamim Iqbal none of their batsmen have managed to score more than 40 runs in this series so far and that is an alarming sign.

Imrul Kayes is not having the best of comebacks into ODI cricket, Shamsur Rahman is clearly having problems with the shorter delivery, Mahmudullah Riyad's absent-minded approach is not helping and captain Mushfiqur suddenly seems to be under pressure against the spinners.

While the problem is obvious, there seems to be no path to address the issue. The Tigers seem to be reeling on the setback that they had after the first ODI which they gave away after having a stranglehold over the hosts.

A lot will depend on the way Anamul and Tamim -- their best batsmen in the series so far -- start the innings. They will need to put up a good stand in order to instil confidence in the rest of the batsmen.

For inspiration, they don't need to look too far behind. The last time the two teams faced at St Kitts, the Tigers chased down 249 with three wickets remaining.

The bowling, on the contrary, has been steady. Their pacers, Al-Amin Hossain and Mashrafe Bin Mortaza have been giving them great starts and endings. Al-Amin's slower deliveries out foxed a number of West Indian batsmen in the last game and he bowled with a lot of conviction in the death overs. With six wickets, he is currently the highest wicket-taker of the series.

Mashrafe, too seems to have found his rhythm back. His bowling, especially in the death overs, seemed to have vastly improved in the last game. His figures of 3 for 39 in the last ODI reflect his best bowling figures in the last four years.

West Indies, on the other hand, seem to be running on special performances from their players. Kieron Pollard and Denesh Ramdin shared a cracker of a partnership in the first ODI, while Sunil Narine ran through Bangladesh's batsmen in the second. Coach, or no coach, Dwayne Bravo's men seem to be doing fine.

The third and final ODI, in essence, may be a dead rubber. However, with the BCB's administration visibly irritated at the players' performance, the result of this match could very well influence a few decisions at the upcoming board meeting at Mirpur this week.

Published: 12:00 am Monday, August 25, 2014

TAGS: Tamim Iqbal Imrul Kayes Mushfiqur Rahim Anamul Haque worst ODI performances

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