Facing harsh reality during a World Cup has not been an unfamiliar experience for Bangladesh over the period of last two decades.
Performing poorly both as individuals and as a team turned multiple World Cups into nightmares for the Tigers in the past. Probably the Cricket World Cup 2003, where Bangladesh lost all their games including the one against Canada, can be regarded as the worst overall.
However, if the focus is shifted from the ODI format to the shortest format of the game, all the World Cups look terrible.
Barring the exception of West Indies in 2007, Bangladesh failed to beat any test-playing nations in the history of T20 World Cups.
Amidst all those dreadful experiences, the one in 2014 that Bangladesh hosted stands out, courtesy of a defeat against Hong Kong. Certainly, the ongoing edition of the T20 World Cup in UAE and Oman provides tough competition to 2014 one in identifying which one is the worst.
Literally, nothing has fallen into place for Bangladesh this time around. Let alone winning against top nations, Bangladesh’s performance, even against the associate nations, has not been commanding at all.
During the qualifying round, the Tigers registered a loss against Scotland and secured a hard-fought victory against Oman. Although the win against Papua New Guinea was comprehensive, Bangladesh still managed to concede wagging of the tail even from such newbies.
The round of Super 12 was even more horrendous. Albeit the games against Sri Lanka and West Indies were competitive, both those games made Bangladesh’s inability to remain calm under pressure and to finish games off absolutely crystal clear.
The Tigers had both these games well within their reach at one point but lost control over it gradually with dropped catches, missed stumpings, wrong shot selections, excessive dot balls, and what not.
The rest three games, against England, South Africa, and Australia, were nothing but embarrassment. Although the batters could cross the 100-run mark against the former, they absolutely capitulated against the other two. Australia, in fact, finished the game off with a staggering 82 balls to spare.
All these scenarios are not isolated occurrences. Rather they are just the culmination of the entire squad falling apart together.
Bangladesh have featured in eight matches in this World Cup and only five batters have managed to score 100 runs or more in the entire tournament.
That number comes down to one should only Super 12 be considered. The situation in Super 12 has been so bad that Mahedi Hasan has become the fifth-highest scorer with a mere 38 runs.
In terms of strike rate, they have not been decent either. Mahmudullah has the highest strike rate (120.71) in the entire tournament while Mushfiqur Rahim (120.25) has been the best in Super 12.
Barring them, the others have struggled to cross the 110-mark. In fact, even Mahmudullah’s strike rate drops below 100 if only Super 12 is considered.
Besides, if the game against Sri Lanka is taken out of the equation, Mushfiqur’s run in Super 12 comes down from 95 in five games to 38 in four games.
The stats of Liton Das, Nurul Hasan, Afif Hossain, and Soumya Sarkar are not even worth mentioning. Albeit at a slow pace, only Mohammad Naim has been the consistent run-scorer for Bangladesh, scoring 174 runs in the entire tournament including 110 in Super 12.
Shakib Al Hasan has been the pick of the bowlers with 11 wickets, although only two of them in Super 12. Mahedi Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman have picked up 8 wickets each. However, a majority of them have come during the qualifying round.
In Super 12, Nasum Ahmed and Shoriful Islam have been the highest wicket-takers with 4 scalps each.
Besides the inability of picking up wickets, another major concern for Bangladesh has been the rate at which the bowlers conceded runs. When a team’s premier seam bowler concedes at a rate of 9.25 runs per over, which goes up to 10.00 runs against top nations, that team is ought to face a tough time while restricting the opposition.
Simply, nothing has gone according to plan for Bangladesh which technically has provided an apparent message to the Tigers that gaining momentum at Mirpur may seem to be valuable in the short-run but preparing solely at Mirpur is far from enough if they are willing to secure any major success in the long run.
The writer is currently studying at the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka (IBA-DU).