Time for stalwarts to set the standard
Following a brilliant three-wicket win in the second ODI against Ireland, Bangladesh will be looking to seal the series when they take on the hosts in the third and final game in Chelmsford today.
There were a lot of positives to take from the second game, with Najmul Hossain Shanto hitting his maiden hundred and young Towhid Hridoy making a huge statement early in his career with yet another crucial half-century.
The experienced Mushfiqur Rahim continued to deliver in his new role as a finisher as he came out to bat at No. 6, showing composure and guiding Bangladesh to their second highest successful chase of 321 runs on Friday.
However, while relatively younger cricketers have started to step up, there remain concerns, chief among them skipper Tamim Iqbal's lack of form.
The experienced left-hander failed to make an impact in the first two ODIs, scoring 14 and seven. The 34-year-old, who has been unable to reach even the 50-run mark in his last seven innings, is still searching for his first hundred in the ODI format since a ton against Zimbabwe in 2021.
According to prominent coach Nazmul Abedeen Fahim, it will be crucial for Tamim to get back among the runs quickly. "Tamim must get into form quickly. It will not only give the team a bigger score, but also help him lead with more vigour. The team needs that badly."
Another experienced campaigner, Shakib Al Hasan, was also guilty of throwing away his wickets in the two ODIs despite getting starts.
Although the ongoing Ireland series is not being considered part of the preparations for the upcoming ICC ODI World Cup in India later this year, Fahim believed the ace all-rounder was probably waiting for a bigger occasion to shine.
"Shakib is probably waiting for bigger occasions. He's looking good but throwing it away. He must realise that batting at number four means partnerships. Today he had a good opportunity to play second to Shanto and gain confidence. However, he's probably not the person to play second to anyone, but the good news is that his form with the bat is okay and we may witness a big score any day now,'' he said.