Bangladesh’s batters will be under scrutiny during their ODI World Cup 2023 match against New Zealand in Chennai on Friday as the team tries to bounce back from their defeat against England. The inconsistencies that have plagued the department in 2023 were exposed again in the 137-run loss to the defending champions on Tuesday.
The problem begins at the top of the order. In their 21 ODIs this year, Bangladesh has lost 41 wickets in the first 10 overs, the second-worst record of any team in the tournament. Their run rate in the same phase has been 4.91, the third-worst among the 10 teams in the competition. The situation is made worse by the constant changes in the opening slots.
The team tried six different opening combinations before settling on Tanzid Hasan and Litton Das for the World Cup. However, the pair has only managed 46 runs in their three associations so far, with a meagre average of 15.33. Tamim Iqbal’s exclusion has also added to the team’s woes. Although Iqbal’s 718 runs at 24.75 in World Cups may seem underwhelming, his experience playing in four editions could have brought stability to the top order.
Bangladesh’s performance in the first 10 overs of their two World Cup matches has been a concern, with scores of 57/4 against England and 44/2 against Afghanistan. Trent Boult and Matt Henry, both Kiwi bowlers, have taken the majority of their wickets within the first PowerPlay. Bangladesh needs to avoid a similar collapse against the Kiwi pace duo to prevent further damage to their top order.
“If we have a good start, we can play some good cricket. We need to start well, and if one of the top four bats long, then it will help our batting order,” said Najmul Hossain Shanto on the eve of Bangladesh’s match against New Zealand. The early collapses in the opening phase of the innings have affected their middle order. Bangladesh has scored at 5.04 in the middle overs, which is the worst among the teams in this World Cup.
Shanto has been one of the few bright spots for Bangladesh in the tournament, scoring 757 runs at 50.46. Batting at No. 3 and No. 4, his contributions ease some pressure on the veteran duo of Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim.
The pitch in Chennai could favour the Bangladeshi batters with its turn and grip. However, Mitchell Santner, the Kiwi left-arm off-break bowler, could pose a few questions. He has picked up seven wickets in two games and leads the chart for highest wicket-takers in the tournament.
Bangladesh’s top four batters have three left-handers, which could neutralize Santner’s left-arm spin. Shanto believes they have a plan to deal with the bowler, who has taken 29 wickets against left-handers and 69 against right-handers in ODI cricket. However, this record does not give the complete picture and could lead Bangladesh to a false sense of security.
Santner has a better strike against left-handers (41.2) compared to right-handers (47.0). Even the batting strike rate against Santner goes up marginally from 78.72 (for right-handers) to 80.41 (for left-handers).
A possible opportunity for Bangladesh could arrive against Ish Sodhi if the leg-spinner is included in the line-up. His strike-rate of 35 against right-handers worsens to 50 against lefties. Glenn Phillips will be another option to stave off the left-handers with his part-time off-spin.
If it clears the two hurdles, Bangladesh will eye the final charge between overs 41-50. In 2023, the side scored at 6.77 in this phase. Out of the teams in the World Cup, only Afghanistan has a worse record.
With India and South Africa awaiting Bangladesh after the New Zealand match, the batting unit is running out of time. Playing its cards right with the bat could mean wins against one of these big guns, thus improving its chances of making the top four. Losses, however, at this point will push Bangladesh closer to the brink of elimination.
Most wickets lost in PowerPlay in 2023
Run rates in PowerPlay in 2023
Run rates in death overs in 2023
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