Do-or-die for Tigers
Bangladesh team seems to have found themselves in the middle of a desert with a one-way traffic in Oman as the six-run defeat in the first qualifier game against Scotland on Sunday changed the entire mindset of the Tigers.
One more mistake from here could force the Tigers to pack their bags and return home as Mahmudullah Riyad and Co take on hosts Oman in what appears to be a test of survival at the Al Amerat Cricket Stadium today.
Even if Bangladesh manage to win their next two games against Oman and Papua New Guinea, they will have to rely on the results of the other matches of Oman and Scotland to make it through to the Super 12 stage.
The false confidence gained from home series victories over Australia and New Zealand have vanished and all of a sudden, the team is facing the harsh reality of their lack of preparation for the mega event.
The facial expression of the Bangladeshi cricketers when they arrived for the optional training session yesterday said it all -- nothing is right in the Tigers' camp.
There are a lot of areas for head coach Russell Domingo to work on, starting from the inconsistent opening batting position of Liton Das and Soumya Sarkar.
It is almost certain that Naim Sheikh, who played all the 16 games this year before finding himself on the bench for the first qualifier game against Scotland, will make it to the playing eleven in place of Soumya.
Apart from the opening slots, Bangladesh will also need to work on their overall batting approach, which was too defensive, thanks to playing on slow and low Mirpur surfaces ahead of the mega event.
The pitch at the Al Amerat Stadium has been sporting so far and the relatively small ground needs to be utilised by the batters and the percentage of dot balls needs to be minimised if the batters want to come up with a positive intent.
Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim struggled during their re-building job as both batsmen faced too many deliveries in the middle overs, making things even tougher for Mahmudullah for the late launch while chasing a rather modest target of 141 runs.
Hosts Oman, on the other hand, will certainly be a lot more confident after their comprehensive 10-wicket win over Papua New Guinea in a 130-run chase. Needless to say that the challenge for Oman, too, will be tougher when they take on the Tigers who will be desperate to remain in the hunt for the super 12 stage.