It's all about execution: Mash
With the group of death beckoning in the Champions Trophy starting with the opener against England on June 1, today's last tri-series match against New Zealand -- who have already won the competition -- is a litmus test of sorts for Bangladesh. So far on the Ireland tour, there have been signs of slow and sure improvement for the Tigers -- the bowlers have given a good account of themselves throughout, and although the batsmen disappointed in the four-wicket defeat to New Zealand, they were back on song in the eight-wicket win over Ireland on Friday.
Even so, the question that remains is whether this Bangladesh side have the quality to defeat a New Zealand side that has been bolstered by the return of first-choice players from the Indian Premier League.
"So far it has been good. The first match that we played against New Zealand was very close. Maybe if we did some things differently -- in the batting, my bowling, etc. -- we could have won a match. It has been good so far in Ireland. We have done the most we can with the limited opportunities we have gotten to practice," Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza said during team practice at the Clontarf Cricket Club in Dublin yesterday, also the venue for today's match.
"There is nothing new to think of or plan," said Mashrafe when asked if plans would change because of New Zealand's returning stars. "A few of their players have come in so they are rotating them, but all of us have been here from the start, so we don't have to plan anything anew. It is all about executing the plans we have."
Mashrafe was looking to replicate the performance in their last match, which they won by eight wickets after shooting Ireland out for 181.
"I think that we bowled well in most matches. So from that perspective, if we can bowl like we did in the previous match, it will become easier for the batsmen."
In the Champions Trophy, pitted in a group that also features hosts England, world champions Australia and World Cup finalists New Zealand, winning this match will give them a huge mental boost and also take them fractionally ahead of Sri Lanka in the ODI rankings, giving them a cushion as far as qualification for the 2019 World Cup is concerned.
"Every match is important for us. It will feel very good if we can win the last match before the Champions Trophy. Even though we have practice matches against good teams like Pakistan and India before the Champions Trophy, winning this match will give us a mental boost."
Mashrafe was noncommittal as far as the eleven for today's match goes, saying that the team that can win the match will play.