Bangladesh will travel to the World Cup with some confidence, having just won their first-ever unilateral ODI series. Ireland would have provided weaker opposition but it was an impressive feat to oust a talented West Indies side during those games.
They’ve made little impression on the tournament so far and the sportsbooks offer little hope but can Bangladesh be a surprise package in 2019?
Bangladesh is available at odds of +6600 to win its first-ever World Cup trophy and in all honesty, there will be few takers at that figure. We have seen shocks, of course — in 1983, India won from a price of +6600, but Bangladesh can’t match that level of quality right now.
That figure of +6600 puts the team ahead of just Afghanistan in the outright betting and the job of Bangladesh is to finish as high as possible in the groups. There is a real danger that they could finish bottom but who are the players who will guard against that type of failure?
If Bangladesh is going to make it out of the groups, the batting unit has to perform to its full potential. Tamim Iqbal provides the fireworks at the top of the order and the left-hander has now compiled more than 6,500 runs in this form of the game. Mushfiqur Rahim can employ a more patient approach while Shakib Al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar and Mahmudullah will pick up the pace again in the later overs.
The focus is largely on those four: There’s plenty of experience within that quartet but they will all need to fire and inspire the younger players in the top order.
Bowlers Under Fire
We’ve seen how the new-look England side plays its one day cricket and that could be bad news for Bangladesh’s seam bowling unit. The one real positive is that most of the attack, including Rubel Hossain, already has experience of English conditions but that’s not going to be enough on these flat, unresponsive surfaces.
Pressure will therefore fall upon Mustafizur Rahman with his assortment of slower balls and changeups in pace. The “Fiz” is key as far as the seamers are concerned but a weak attack is likely to concede heavily in the UK this summer. Spinners can also contribute, but the likes of Shakib Al Hasan and Mehidy Hasan won’t enjoy these conditions either.
Bangladesh suffered an injury scare during the recent ODI tri-series with West Indies and Ireland when Shakib Al Hasan was forced off the field. Initial reports suggest his injury isn’t too serious and fans of the Tigers will be desperate to see him fit and firing.
Shakib’s all-round qualities with bat and ball make him the key man as far as we are concerned and the ODI rankings tend to back up that theory. He’s rated at No. 2 in the world in the all-rounder category and his stats in both disciplines are impressive coming into the tournament.
Shakib will pass 200 ODI games during the 2019 World Cup and he has accumulated over 5,700 runs. There are seven centuries included and his average, at a shade above 35.00, is impressive for an all-rounder.
Looking at the bowling figures, the left-armer has 249 wickets with a best of 5/47. We’ve mentioned that his spin will be tested on these flat surfaces but an economy rate of 4.44 suggests he can, at the very least, aim to keep things tight in the middle overs.
There will be little interest in individual markets for Bangladesh players at this World Cup but we’ll take a look at some possible options. In the top tournament batsman betting, Tamim Iqbal would seem the most likely option and the opener can be picked up at odds of +6600. It’s slightly less positive in the bowling department with Mehidy Hasan at +8000 to be the tournament’s leading wicket taker.
Neither of those picks looks appealing but they do underline our concerns about the balance of this Bangladesh squad. Batters can, and have, pushed totals beyond the 300 mark and they can be competitive thanks to a potent top order. Bowling will, however, be a struggle for the team at this tournament and we expect them to concede heavily at times.
The good news is that there is plenty of experience in this side with a number of players, including Tamim and Shakib, having been around the squad for a decade or so. However, that’s not going to be enough to get out of the groups and we fear that Bangladesh faces a battle with Sri Lanka and Afghanistan to avoid finishing at the bottom of the table.
Prediction: Group Stages
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ICC World Cup News
Odds Shark Staff Thu, Feb 17, 9:14amICC World Cup