Playing its sixth World Cup, Bangladesh, under Mashrafe Mortaza’s captaincy, will be chasing a maiden appearance in the semifinals of the tournament.
Bangladesh’s greatest strength is its core players, comprising captain Mortaza, Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim, each of whom will be playing their fourth World Cup. Their experience, to go with the versatile skill set, puts the team in good stead.
Bangladesh is among the balanced sides in the tournament. It means the Bangladesh team management has options to fall back on players who can be brought in based on the pitch and conditions.
Bangladesh will hope that its bowlers remain fit for the length of the tournament. Losing Mustafizur or Mortaza at any stage could be a significant blow to the Bangladeshi bowling attack. Mustafizur picked up an ankle injury while warming up for a Dhaka Premier League match last month and had to rest for a fortnight to recover in time for the World Cup.
If we go by what happened at the 2018 Asia Cup, Bangladesh is currently the second-best Asian team, behind India, which won the continental tournament. Over the last four World Cups, Bangladesh has consistently beaten the top teams: in 2007, it beat India in the group stage and South Africa in the Super Eight stage; in 2011, England was its biggest scalp and four years later (in the 2015 World Cup), Bangladesh knocked England out at the group stage to secure its place in the quarterfinals.
This time, with perhaps the best squad it has ever taken to a World Cup, Bangladesh has the opportunity to string together more consistent performances and fight for a semifinal spot.
The challenge for Bangladesh will be to play good cricket for longer periods and keep its emotions in check. Having all the ingredients for success, Bangladesh will get itself into good positions, but needs to find ways to close out matches.
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