Confidence key for mental make-up
The Twenty20 World Cup fixtures were announced yesterday. The 16-nation tournament -- to be held in the United Arab Emirates and Oman -- will begin on October 17. The top two teams from both group A and group B in the first round will advance to the Super 12 stage, where the game's heavyweight nations join the tournament. Australia are in Group 1 of the Super 12 stage alongside England, defending champions West Indies, South Africa and two qualifiers from the preliminary round. India have been placed in Group 2 with archrivals Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan and two more qualifiers. The second round of the tournament – the Super12 stage – will get underway in Abu Dhabi on October 23. India and Pakistan, who only play each other in ICC events, will meet on Oct. 24 in one of the most highly-anticipated clashes in the sport. The final will be held in Dubai on November 14.
Bangladesh's recent performances in the shortest format of the game, including the historic 4-1 series win over Australia, will surely boost the Tigers' confidence ahead of the T20 World Cup, the schedule for which was announced by the ICC yesterday
Bangladesh are in Group B at the flagship event to be played in Oman and the UAE and will take on Scotland on the opening day of the Round 1 qualifiers on October 17. The Tigers then face the hosts, Oman, and Papua New Guinea on October 19 and 21 respectively.
The top two teams of each group will qualify for the Super 12, which is scheduled to begin on October 23. Sri Lanka, Ireland, Netherlands, and Namibia will face each other in Group A.
If Bangladesh finish on top of their group, they will join India, Pakistan, New Zealand, and Afghanistan alongside the runner-up of Group A in Group 2 of the Super 12.
Bangladesh finished top during the qualifiers for the 2016 T20 World Cup, but the Tigers went on to lose all the matches at the Super 10 stage.
It will be interesting to see whether Mahmudullah Riyad and his troops can use the upcoming five-match T20I series against New Zealand next month to gain some more confidence ahead of the flagship event considering it will be the last international series before the tournament.
"I think this tournament is important for all teams, especially for us. We will be playing a few series before the T20 World Cup and if we can do well and gain confidence ahead of the tournament by winning those series, it will certainly be a big boost for us," Bangladesh T20I skipper Mahmudullah said.
"I think in a tournament like the T20 World Cup, every game is equally important regardless of opposition. You have to play your best game from the first ball and if you have a good frame of mind and keep the process right, it's possible to win all the matches."
Oman playing hosts may catch some off-guard as they are virtual unknowns in world cricket, but they are certainly not newcomers. Oman have been playing T20 cricket for the past six years and even participated in the previous T20 World Cup in India. Oman also started playing ODIs in 2019 and have so far has played 11 ODIs and 36 T20Is.
Bangladesh faced Oman once, during the previous T20 World Cup qualifiers in Dharamshala when Tamim Iqbal struck a century as Bangladesh registered a comfortable 54-run win.
The Al Amerat Cricket ground in Muscat has already hosted 30 T20Is and it is going to be the first major world event that will be hosted in Oman.