Tigers look to maintain intensity in final T20I
Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan had already given the cue that there may be changes in the line-up for the third and final T20I against Ireland, but what he would not want to see change is the hunger and drive from his players. If that intensity is carried forward, more records may tumble in the third T20I today.
It has been evident that the Tigers have had the mental edge against Ireland this series, having successfully shown aggression in all three departments. The Irish were the only side to beat England in the T20I World Cup last year, so a lack of intensity will allow the visitors to gain a foothold ahead of the away series in England in May.
"If we go to Australia or England and they are 2-0 up, they will look to go 3-0. We will not be complacent. Maybe we'll try new guys, but they will be just as hungry to score runs or get wickets," Shakib had said after the series-clinching second T20I.
The Tigers are undergoing a purple patch in T20Is, which includes a historic 3-0 whitewash of England in their previous series, and Shakib would not like to see that slip in the final T20I.
The pace attack has been tremendous in the last few series and only a bit of tinkering might be possible. It may be likely that Shoriful Islam gets into the side considering the need to manage Taskin Ahmed's workload.
The bigger question is whether the Tigers will play leg-spinner Rishad Hossain to reinvigorate the outlook of the side for the future.
When it comes to leg spin, Bangladesh have been afraid for a while. In domestic games, leg-spinners are not the attacking options that they are usually intended to be. Without performances to back him up, Rishad will have to make way as well. But from the team's perspective, a leg-spinner playing without fear is the priority.
The opening slots have been promising in the recent two series. Rony Talukdar has been able to reciprocate the management's faith by showing that he can come out and attack during the Powerplay. Like Rony, others have been given the licence to play without the fear of being dropped.
"We play to the plan which the team management gives us. The basic plan is to stay positive and show that intent. The team management is trying to emphasise one thing in the dressing room and that is being able to play fearless cricket. That's our main task," Rony said yesterday.
The openers have been able to find a similar groove in their approach this series and open possibilities with lofty Powerplay ambitions. For Rony, their aggression was not founded on swinging their bats at anything that comes their way.
"We talk a lot and try to play according to the merit of the ball and focus on playing proper cricketing shots. If you can rotate the strike with positive intent, there is more chance that the innings will be big," he said.
The batting order has found more flexibility as well. Shakib promoted himself up the order in the last match and such changes could be the norm.
"We make our plans match by match. The plans aren't made for how to play series against England or series against Ireland. If we could go in a similar vein, it will work for us in the future. As a team, the team management wants to boost the idea of playing aggressively," he said about the constant urge to go forward.
When my pattern of play is aggressive, I would also want my partner to play the same way. It makes things easier for both of us. You wouldn't know how [easily] runs are being scored when batting with Liton [Das]