The Bangladesh team seem in high spirits during practice at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday, ahead of today's World Twenty20 Super 10 match against West Indies here. PHOTO: STAR
The mood is sombre. The setting is not ideal to launch a campaign with high hopes but still one cannot write off any team, especially in the newest format of the game. Therefore, when the Tigers kick off their battle in the ICC World Twenty20 Super 10 stage this evening against defending champions West Indies at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, there will be no shortage of excitement and cheers for Mushfiqur Rahim's men.
Bad times can only be overcome by something good and today is an opportunity for the hosts to give hope to their passionate supporters and put balm on the wounds of their agonising defeat to Hong Kong in their qualifying round game. Tigers can now only keep faith on themselves and take inspiration from the past; they have a very encouraging record of winning two T20I games out of four against West Indies including the famous one in the 2007 World Twenty20.
If it is a question of power and strength, then West Indies are well ahead of the Bangladesh team but India showed with their seven-wicket victory on Sunday night how even a feared batting line-up like West Indies' can be tamed by disciplined bowling.
While Mushfiqur may not be MS Dhoni he also has some weapons in hand, but he would need to get the best out of them. The pitch at Mirpur has so far been tricky; if it suits the slow bowlers then nothing would be better for the home side and if not, there should not be much problem. Pace spearhead Mashrafe Bin Mortaza is all set to play the game by braving pain and Bangladesh fans will have fond memories of his successful battle with dashing left-hander Chris Gayle in the ODI series at home in November-December 2012.
Gayle struggled in the opening game against India. West Indies however have many more fearsome hitters other than Gayle to test the Bangladesh bowling attack and they will definitely come hard tonight to keep their hopes alive in a tough group. The inclusion of pace-bawling all-rounder Ziaur Rahman gave some balance to the team and he is likely to feature in the game along with spinner Shohag Gazi, who has also had memorable battles against Gayle.
Left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak's fate will be a matter of great interest. Many are of the opinion that this experienced campaigner is in the twilight of his career and if he gets another chance today, he will definitely come under the scanner. The team management is also likely to put an end to their love-affair with all-rounder Forhad Reza.
When it comes to batting, once again the batsmen must understand that even in the shortest format of the game planning and innovation in shot-making are required and not just hard-hitting batting. The middle order is a real concern and the team would definitely love to see Nasir Hossain back in his usual form.
It is always said that this team has got the potential to beat any team but the potential can only transform into success when the right approach is followed. And the Tigers need it tonight.