Rising Tigers primed for World T20
It would be a lie if one were to say that defeat to India in the final of the Asia Cup did not hurt the Tigers at all. However, that they reached the final will be a confidence boost ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 in India, where they reached yesterday to take part in the qualifying round.
That the Bangladesh national cricket team was disappointed was an aspect that was obvious at the end of the game on Sunday.
There seemed to be a look of disbelief in the faces of most of the players. At that moment, all they seemed to want to do was finish the post-match ceremony as quickly as possible and hit the road back to their hotel.
The defeat was also disappointing for the thousands of fans who braved the storm and the rain at the Sher-e-Bangla National stadium.
However, if one were to analyse the entire tournament as a whole, then it would be clear to see how much progress the Tigers have made in this format in the last four months. From drawing a series against Zimbabwe to reaching the final of a major tournament in the span of just over a month suggests that the Tigers are on the right path.
There have been plenty of positives from the Asia Cup. Take for instance the rise of Mahmudullah Riyad. The batsman has averaged 121 in the tournament. That number is the highest ever in T20I series that includes at least four matches. He was the calmest of the lot and proved that T20I matches could be won merely by playing proper cricketing shots.
Sabbir Rahman, the player of the series, was the other batsman who displayed brilliant skills. The interesting part is that neither of these batsmen attempted to thud every ball outside the park. They both initially depended on singles and then smacked the deliveries when the right time arrived.
These are typical qualities that a good T20 player has. All that Sabbir and Mahmudullah need to do is nurture them and make the best out of it.
While these two players did shine, the unfortunate aspect and possibly a concern was the failure of the rest of the batting order. Soumya Sarkar did hit form towards the end, but still seems a bit rough. Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim had awful experiences in the middle order. Mohammad Mithun is yet to get set in international cricket.
If Bangladesh want to do something special in the ICC World Twenty20, they will need their main men to stand up.
The bowling, on the contrary, seemed to be spot on. Taskin Ahmed was the most impressive and he was backed up well by Al-Amin Hossain. Mustafizur Rahman seems to have nearly recovered from his side strain and when he joins the side in the World Cup, the bowling unit is bound to get a lot stronger.
The only concern here would be Shakib. The left-hander was whacked out of the park in the final and many will hope that he rediscovers the line and length that has made him so effective over the years.
With the Tigers set to play their first game of the first round against the Netherlands tomorrow, it is best that they forget the India defeat. The roles will be reversed when they take on the non-full member nations for the pressure will be on them. The likes of Ireland, Netherlands and Oman will have nothing to lose and they will be giving it their all.
Going by how seriously coach Chandika Hathurusingha and Mashrafe Bin Mortaza set different tactics for each game in the Asia Cup, the Tigers are going to put at least as much effort in the next three games as they did in the Asia Cup.