Bangladesh have already proven that they are the superior side in the tri-series by winning three of their four matches convincingly, while the other against Ireland was washed out. Mashrafe Bin Mortaza’s troops were well-tuned and had decent performances with both bat and ball -- although the fielding was below-par -- and have already defeated the West Indies twice in the span of a week. So, they cannot expect anything other than a win against the same opponents in today’s final at The Village in the coastal settlement of Malahide.
A win would be the perfect end to the series, dubbed a build-up to the ICC World Cup, before the Tigers head to England with the 50-over megaevent just two weeks away.
They might have had good performances in the league matches, but they definitely did not get all the answers before the World Cup. When they take the field against the West Indies, Bangladesh will not only be searching for a confidence boost, but some answers as well.
A stable opening partnership is being sought after by the Bangladesh thinktank and Soumya Sarkar’s two fluent knocks (73 and 54) have provided hopes ahead of the World Cup. On the other hand, Liton Das somewhat capitalised when he was given a chance against Ireland.
However, Soumya seemed more assured than Liton, who seems to be troubled by the issue of how things should progress once a batsman settles and gets a start. So, chances are high that Soumya will be backed for the final and another good partnership with stalwart Tamim Iqbal would ensure that the team go to England with some relief.
It was also a good sign that the top order batsmen got some runs ahead of the final as there were concerns before the tri-series about whether the batsmen could acclamatise to the cold weather in Ireland.
It may not be wise to say that Bangladesh have solved the 300-run puzzle after chasing a nearly 300-run target against Ireland, but the batting unit has so far shown discipline although they are yet to face any big challenges against their opponents.
The West Indies got off to a flying start in the tri-series with a massive 196-run win over the hosts, before Bangladesh brought them back to earth and their bowling unit undoubtedly played an important role in stopping the Calypso Kings.
Mustafizur Rahman’s four-wicket haul after a below-par performance in the first match was an encouraging sign for the team but everybody will be looking forward to seeing him continue his form. Despite all his current limitations, Mashrafe once again proved himself as a leading pace bowler but there is hardly any doubt that others must come forward, just as Abu Jayed did in the last game, if Bangladesh want to do something at the World Cup.
And there is no way a team like Bangladesh can afford the luxury of dropped catches as they did in the previous game.
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe rightly said after a six-wicket victory against Ireland on Wednesday that they would go to the final with lot of confidence after playing good cricket in the league stage. But a full-strength Bangladesh have to prove the point that they are not a team who break down in finals, especially when West Indies would not be too upset with the loss considering this is not their full-strength side; still be on the lookout for a player like Shai Hope, who is the leading run-getter in the series with two centuries and a half century, to spoil the Tigers party.