Tigers sniff blood in the water
The five-match T20I series against Australia starting from today can prove to be the turning point for Bangladesh to evolve further as a team, especially in the shortest format of the game.
Bangladesh's approach towards the T20I format has remained questionable over the years where, more often than not, the Tigers had struggled to display a combined team effort.
The recent 2-1 series win against Zimbabwe was a total confidence booster. Still the Tigers will have no option but to step up their game when they take on the mighty Aussies despite the men from Down Under having arrived without some of their key players following a thrashing 4-1 series defeat in their tour of the Caribbean.
The scenario also presents a huge platform for the Bangladesh team who are set to play their first-ever five-match bilateral series in the shortest format, and the first-ever against the Aussies.
And head coach Russell Domingo and his troop have their work cut out in coming up with a proper game plan first, not just to register their first-ever T20I win over the Aussies but also to develop the unit ahead of the upcoming ICC World T20 later this year.
Mahmudullah Riyad's side are yet to win a T20I against a higher-ranked side since their seven-wicket win against India in 2019, after which the Tigers went on to face convincing defeats against Pakistan in the two-match series last year along with a 3-0 whitewash in New Zealand earlier this year.
On the plus side, Bangladesh have won four T20Is during this period, albeit all of those came against Zimbabwe, a relatively weaker side.
Whenever the Tigers faced a better opponent, the gulf in quality had been evident and so the Tigers think tank will aim to minimize that aspect when they take on Australia on their home soil. Another key challenge for Bangladesh will be to rectify one of their most prominent issues -- related to inconsistency.
And Australia, on the other hand, consecutively lost their last four T20I series and are desperately seeking their first series win since the resumption of cricket post-pandemic. Even with a relatively inexperienced squad in Bangladesh, the quality of players in their rank is evident with the likes of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Dan Christian, Adam Zampa, and Ashton Agar in the bowling line-up, while skipper Matthew Wade, Mitchell Marsh and Moises Henriques will back themselves to outperform with the bat.
Much like the Tigers, Australian head coach Justin Langer would also be banking on his fringe players -- the likes of Josh Philippe, Ben McDermott and Ashton Turner -- who will look to shine and make their presence felt for the future.
Bangladesh may feel unlucky to miss out on their experienced players such as Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim Iqbal this series but on the flip side, it also gives a great opportunity to the likes of Soumya Sarkar, Naim Sheikh, Afif Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin.
Last but not the least, champion all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will have to play a big part, both on and off the field, in guiding the Tigers under the leadership of Mahmudullah. The two veterans of the game can transform their vast experience out in the middle to make the most out of this rare opportunity against the Aussies.