Despite an early setback against Scotland, Bangladesh have made their way through to the next round as their Super 12 campaign begins against Sri Lanka in Sharjah today.
After finishing at the second position in Group B, Bangladesh find themselves in Group 1 competing against Sri Lanka, England, West Indies, South Africa, and Australia chronologically – something they had not expected coming into the World Cup as they were the undisputed favorites of Group B.
However, some might argue that finishing the first round as the runner-up has been a blessing in disguise for Bangladesh.
Given the bowling resources that they have, it is for certain that the tigers are more suited to play against non-Asian countries rather than their Asian counterparts, such as India, Pakistan, or Afghanistan, all of which are at Group 2 where Bangladesh could have landed had they been the champions of Group B.
Blessing or not, for Bangladesh to proceed any further from Super 12, they have to find solutions to their problems. They have are yet to be at their fluent best in this tournament. The majority of the batting department is still out of touch while getting rid of the tail continues to be a problem for the bowling side.
With the continuation of Liton’s poor form, the opening pair is still a concern for Bangladesh. In the middle order, the experienced Mushfiq has just not been able to break the shackles. And Sohan has failed in his role of a finisher in all three occasions.
On the other hand, the bowlers had Scotland at 53/6 at one stage in the tournament opener. Again, they had Papua New Guinea at 29/7 at one point in the last fixture. In both cases, they miserably failed to finish things off letting those teams score 97 and 68 more runs.
Apart from the victory against West Indies in the inaugural edition, Bangladesh do not have any further winning memories against any test playing nations in the history of the T20 World Cup.
This stat alone is sufficient to illustrate how important it is for Bangladesh to get off to a good start. Sri Lanka, being potentially the weakest team on paper in Group 2, are probably going to provide Bangladesh with the best possible opportunity to get off the mark in Super 12.
Any slip in this game is highly likely to result in returning empty-handed from another T20 World Cup.
However, a win in this fixture can create much-needed momentum for the Tigers going forward. As the World Cup has been staged in UAE after the completion of the second leg of IPL, the pitches here in all three venues are already somewhat tired.
As the tournament progresses, those pitches are likely to get more and more conducive for the slow bowlers. Taking that into consideration, if Bangladesh can manage to get into the four games against four non-Asian nations with two points already in the bag, that will create a huge opportunity for the Tigers to bag a few more pairs of points.
The spinners along with the cutters of Fizz and Saifuddin have the guile to possess significant threat against the power-hitters of England, West Indies, South Africa, and Australia, who are more used to playing in flat pitches.
Having said that, winning enough games to be able to reach the next stage will still be a daunting task. In fact, considering the current shape of the team, the Tigers need to pull off a miracle to make the dream of the Semi-Finals come true.
The writer is currently studying at the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka (IBA-DU).