The tigers have now reached the knock-out rounds in the previous two ICC tournaments.
Mumbai: 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup – the England and Wales-based showpiece -- will start on May 30, and will go on till July 14. However, this year the cricket governing body has decided to change the format of the tournament -– where ten teams will play versus other nine teams, and the four teams that comes out on top will advance to the semi-finals.
Nonetheless, today we look at the teams which have a good shot at the title. We will also look at some of the key players who may turn the tide in their team’s favour at any given moment.
(Photo: CWC19/ Twitter)
For the past two decades, Bangladesh has always been called as the minnow team in international cricket. However, they have enhanced their game massively to defeat any big teams on their given day.
Bangladesh also impressed at the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, where they reached the semi-final. In the last ICC event – that is the 2017 ICC champions Trophy – they’ve qualified for the knockout round and following that they surprised the world-wide cricket fans by advancing to the finals of the 2018 Asia Cup.
Bangladesh fared well at the 2018 Asia Cup and that too without the presence of Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal. They nearly clinched the trophy but like always they couldn’t hold their nerves in the final against India.
Bangladesh’s World Cup history is not something we can boast about. Yet the minnows do have somewhat achievement to show.
Bangladesh at the World Cup
1999 was the year when Bangladesh debuted in the World Cup. They are still a progressing team. However, the World Cup debutants shined tremendously as they beat Scotland by 22 runs, then a glorious moment came when they defeated the Pakistanis. Yet, those two wins were insufficient to help Bangladesh progress further.
2003 to 2007
Bangladesh also played in the 2003 edition. Nevertheless, a sole win led to their exit. During the 2007, World Cup the Bangladeshis endured a historic moment as they gained a crucial victory over India.
That win was enough to help the side progress to the knockout stage for the first time. However, the squad wasn’t able to progress beyond the newly-made Super Eight stage, yet the win against India was a major indication of their development.
2011 to 2015
After four years, the tigers along with India, and Sri Lanka hosted the next edition of World Cup. Although, for the minnows the home advantage wasn’t able to help them progress beyond the group stage, as they eventually missed out on a place in the knockout stage, ending their World Cup campaign just after the West Indies on net run rate.
While the 2015 tournament in Australia and New Zealand showed more progression. The 2015 World Cup showed a new side of Bangladesh as they defeated England by 15 runs. With that win Bangladesh progressed to the next stage, but then they endured a heavy defeat at the hands of India in the quarter finals.
‘Underdogs’ Bangladesh will be looking to better their 2015 quarter-final record after producing blistering performances at the Champions Trophy. The Tigers are too much dependent on the experienced Mashrafe Mortaza, Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim who might be playing their fourth and final World Cup.
The format of the 2019 World Cup will be tough for Bangladesh to advance through. Yet, it isn’t to be forgotten that they are still a developing cricket nation who can upset any big teams on their given day, and thus it will be foolish to totally write them off.
In the last few years, backed by the ruthless coaching of Chandika Hathurasinghe, a helpful cricket board and a unit of quality senior players headed by Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh have developed as a cricketing nation.
The tigers have now reached the knock-out rounds in the previous two ICC tournaments.
The minnows can now start preparing themselves for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 with the real expectation of being a title challenger.
While most cricket analysts across the world write off Bangladesh as ‘underdogs', numbers show that this could maybe Bangladesh's only chance to win the coveted trophy.
Bangladesh is probably the most experienced team, in terms of most ODIs played by the players. Currently, the tigers are the sole team in the world to have five cricketers who have played 150 plus ODIs.
Mashrafe, Shakib, Tamim, Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah Riyad have been the wall of this side for a long time and that has helped the younger players to join and play freely.
However, if one wished to distinguish the probable 15-member squads of all the teams of the World Cup—depending on the performances of the players in 2018—then the tigers would be first in terms of the number of ODIs is played.
Teams like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Australia are going through a transition phase and they are yet to find their ground. While South Africa are still concerned with the problem of replacing AB de Villiers and Morne Morkel. Moreover, after this World Cup South Africa again will have to replace the injury-plagued Dale Steyn, who will be playing his last World Cup.
However England, India and New Zealand have a good combination of experience and youth in their teams and currently seem to be the strongest contenders for the World Cup. Similarly, Bangladesh too has a strong team around the five pillars.
However, experience isn't everything. Although, for the Tigers to enter a big event as a side to have cricketers who have played the maximum number of ODIs, is something quite exemplary, considering that everybody wrote them off prior to the World Cup in 2015.
Before the World Cup, the tigers have the experience and the performance to be called as a big contender. However, very few analysts would say that Bangladesh would reach the last semi-finals.
And that's because Bangladesh, despite having fared well in the recent past, have continuously failed to make impact during the crucial finals. They have been found throwing away matches during crucial moments.
Here, in this article, we will analyse five players – five game changing players – out of the 15-member Bangladesh squad.
Bangladesh declared their 15-member World Cup squad, which is as follows:-
Bangladesh World Cup squad: Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad, Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Mithun, Sabbir Rahman, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehidy Hasan, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Abu Jayed.
Bangladesh included batsman Mosaddek Hossain and non-debutant fast bowler Abu Jayed for their World Cup squad. Mosaddek was called to replace batting all-rounder Mahmudullah Riyad, who sustained a shoulder injury.
Jayed also got the call as a probable back-up for quick pacer Mustafizur Rahman, who sustained an ankle sprain, and Rubel Hossain who acquired a side strain.
Tamim Iqbal gets Bangladesh off the hook, as he explodes the bowlers whenever he gets an opportunity. Iqbal is one such batsman, whom the opposition needs to be wary of as he can take on any pace attack.
Tamim’s best knock came against Australia in 2011, when he smacked 62 off 89 balls off the bowling of Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson and Shane Watson.
Shakib Al Hasan
Shakib has been the perfect all-rounder that Bangladesh desired for a long time. The 32-year-old has saved his team on many occasions with both bat, and ball. Sometimes, he also mentors the youngsters.
Mushfiqur Rahim will be playing his fourth World Cup and being a senior member, the wicket-keeper batsman is hopeful he can produce his best on the biggest stage of all. Whenever there has been any batting collapse Mushfiqur Rahim always stood up to the task of rescuing Bangladesh, and taking them to a safe zone. Yet, Rahim is still due to unleash his best at the tournament.
Left-handed pacer Mustafizur Rahman can make a dominant impact in debut World Cup. Mustafizur is the sole Bangladeshi to be listed in ICC's 2018 ODI team of the year. His quick pace, accurate yorkers and inswingers will come handy in the seaming English weather.
Mustafizur Rahman made his impact after his impressive stints in the IPL with Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad. The left arm seamer has tons of variations that have led to a series of wickets in the shortest format.
However he’s very young and in-experienced. But after scalping 77 ODI wickets, Mustafizur has been ranked sixth in the world and will play a major role at the 2019 tournament.
At 35, Mashrafe still spearheads the Bangladeshi bowling unit. And, currently there are rumours about him saying goodbye to the game after the World Cup. So, he would be keen to make his last World Cup more memorable.
Bangladesh can be proud of their achievements, but they must find more variety and uniqueness in their bowling if they are in pursuit of their maiden World Cup trophy. They have a great depth around a team that has obtained success at home and abroad.
Mushfiqur, Mahmudullah and Shakib all are aged 30. And, it's unlikely that they will play the next World Cup. Thus, this World Cup, in terms of age and experience, is going to be the best chance for these five Bangladeshi cricketers to give their best.
There is also inadequate top quality bowling in the Bangladeshi squad. When they play at home, the team depends on spin. However, they don’t possess world class china-man in the ranks of Rashid Khan or Kuldeep Yadav.
That spin will get neutralized in English conditions and there are no quickies in the attack. The batsmen will therefore have to take the onus and hope for the pacers to strike early on.
Like every World Cup, in this year’s World Cup too Bangladesh goes into the World Cup as the minnows. However, currently, Bangladesh is giving all their best in all the major events. It would be interesting to see how the things would turn out for them in this year’s World Cup. Perhaps this might be their year.