Bangladesh’s World Cup campaign is now precariously poised. After losing their second and third matches against England and New Zealand, they had pinned their hopes on the match against Sri Lanka in Bristol on Tuesday to get their World Cup campaign back on track. But incessant rain washed out that match and Bangladesh are now left needing to win at least four out of their last five games. While the next game is also against a lower-ranked opposition in West Indies in Taunton on June 17, the conditions may be against Bangladesh’s favour.
As the team made their way to the sleepy southern English town yesterday, Australia were on their way to piling up a total in excess of 350, but the Pakistan pacers -- with Mohammad Amir picking up a five-for -- got them all out for 307.
None of those aspects -- Australia’s big hitting and Pakistan’s pace success -- would help Bangladesh against West Indies. The Cooper Associates County Ground is one of the smaller international venues. With the West Indies boasting the likes of Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis and Andre Russell to take advantage of the small boundaries, Bangladesh’s bowlers would have to be at their best to contain them.
“One of their most explosive players is Andre Russell, and he’s a formidable opponent. He’s one of the best hitters in the game, by far, and on his day, he can be very, very difficult to bowl at,” Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes had said after the game was abandoned on Tuesday. “So he can take a game away from you, but they have others, like all these international teams.
“But we’re very pleased with the way we play the white ball, and we know we’ve got some good players ourselves, so we won’t be worrying too much about who we’re playing against, and we’ll be hopeful that they are going to worry about some of our players.”
The coach was less worried about the other aspect with which the West Indies may choose to attack the Tigers. Bouncers have become a common ploy in this World Cup, especially when bowlers with genuine pace are operating.
“We’ve got certain ways of dealing with that. I’m very, very happy with the way we play the white ball, particularly when it’s short. I think you’ve seen [that] against South Africa, that didn’t worry us. We’ve played against the West Indies bowlers, recently, as well, out in Ireland. Certainly Oshane Thomas, as well, when we played against him in Bangladesh just before Christmas. So we are well aware of what they have got and we know what’s coming and we’ve got some plans to try and deal with that.”
With the match five days away and the weather set to clear, and also the two days of rest for Bangladesh’s players, there will be ample time for the team to reset for the challenge.