Although Bangladesh started their Ireland tour with a thumping 88-run defeat in the practice match against Ireland Wolves, the Tigers will be oozing with confidence when they take on the hosts at the Clontarf Cricket Ground in Dublin today following their commanding eight-wicket victory against West Indies on Tuesday.
The Tigers will also take confidence from their last encounter with Ireland when they sealed an eight-wicket victory back in 2017 -- also during a tri-nation series played among Bangladesh, Ireland and New Zealand in Ireland.
It was the same opening duo of Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar that had provided the Tigers with a solid start -- a 95-run opening stand with Soumya remaining unbeaten on 87 -- when the two sides last met. Something similar or even better will be expected of the duo when the Tigers take on Ireland today. And Soumya’s optimistic words after Tigers’ tri-series opener promises of something better.
“If I could score a hundred or remain unbeaten, then the confidence would have been higher. There was an opportunity today [Tuesday], and I won’t say I wasted it but I missed something. Next time if I get the opportunity in the few remaining matches here, I will try not to miss it,” the left-handed opener told reporters in Dublin after the victory against West Indies.
“Of course, there is regret when missing out on a century. Both of us missed it and both of us will try to take a lesson from it. The way we were progressing towards the win, if both of us made it through maybe the win would have been even sweeter and we would both have had big scores,” Soumya added.
Another positive that Bangladesh could take before going into today’s game is the performance of the country’s best all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan. After spending most of his time in the sidelines with his Indian Premier League (IPL) side Sunrisers Hyderabad, Shakib showed why he is still considered as a game-changer with economical figures of one for 33 before stroking an unbeaten run-a-ball 61.
A disciplined batting and bowling unit could be credited for Bangladesh’s triumph in their tri-series opener. However, the only anomaly in that match could be Mustafizur Rahaman’s expensive figures of two for 84. With Mustafizur being a pivotal figure in Tigers’ squad, the question remains whether the team management will try and get their ace left-arm paceman back in rhythm with more match time before the World Cup or will they shuffle their squad and try one of the four backups -- Forhad Reza, Taskin Ahmed, Yasir Ali and Nayeem Hasan -- or even Rubel Hossain, who was not picked for the last game.
Another thing that could have an impact on today’s encounter is the persistent rain in Dublin which forced Bangladesh’s training session on Wednesday being called off. And with rain in forecast for today as well, it would not be surprising to see the game interrupted.