Tuesday, 16 Apr, 2024


Tigers on A Roll

Saleque Sufi |
Update: 2015-04-15 22:30:00
Tigers on A Roll

Though Bangladesh Cricket team white washed New Zealand twice and Zimbabwe once in ODI yet very rarely Bangladesh starts as favorites for winning ODI series against higher ranked ICC teams.

That rare opportunity appears when Bengal tigers start the three match ODI series against visiting Pakistan team at its den Shere Bangla (tiger of Bengal) National Stadium from tomorrow.

 Bangladesh and Pakistan both were losing quarterfinalists in the recently concluded ICC World Cup Championship held in Australia New Zealand. Pakistan went down fighting to eventual champion Australia. Bangladesh lost to India in a controversial match at MCG. Pakistan Captain Misbah Ul Haq and star all-rounder boom boom Afridi retired from ODI after the tournament. Bangladesh team remains the same. Moreover, home advantage is likely to tilt the balance in favor of the Bangladesh team.

Since brilliant showing in the World Cup Bangladesh is gathering momentum. The teenager brigade is leading visiting South Africa under 19 team 3-1 in the 7-match ODI series. BCB XI has beaten Pakistan team by one wicket in the lone warm up match where emerging all-rounder Shabbir Rahman has scored a scintillating century. Only the second occasion any Bangladesh cricket team has won against full strength Pakistan team in any format of the game.

The series offers a unique opportunity for Bangladesh to improve their rankings in ODI and close the gap with West Indies and Pakistan. ICC World Cup 2018 will be restricted to 10 teams where the top eight ranked teams of ODI ranking will not require playing qualifying round matches with the associates.

A 3-0 Bangla wash will take Bangladesh to 81 points which will make West Indies level with Pakistan at 92. A 2-1 win for Mashrafe squad will add three points to Bangladesh tally. On the other hand Pakistan currently in seventh spot on 95 ratings points has a chance to reduce England’s six point advantage by one point if it wins the series 3-0. A 2-1 victory would see Azhar Ali’s men remain on 95 points.
ICC ODI Rankings ( as on 15/04/2015)

Bangladesh had already announced its team for the first two matches of the ODI series. Captain Mashrafee has to serve one match ban for slow over rate in world cup matches. Star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will lead tomorrow .Shakib in the meantime played two matches for his IPL franchise KKR. Many of the reaming members of the team played in BCL tournament and others had important practice sessions.

Selection Puzzle: Bangladesh suffered from a regular issue of poor start in batting all through the world cup. The strategy for going to world cup with only two genuine openers back fired. Though Imrul Kayes was flown in late as replacement of injured Anamul Haq he did not click for limited acclimatization with alien condition. Anamul has not recovered, Imrul not in the side, Tamim is in a bad patch for a long time and rookie Rony Talukdar will be under serious pressure against top quality Pakistan pace attack. We cannot suggest risking Mominul the most dependable test batsman to rock his confidence through exposing them to Pakistan pace attack in ODI .The choice then is giving Tamim one last opportunity and trying Roni Talukdar or giving additional responsibility to Soumya Sarkar to open. If Soumya opens would suggest Mominul to play or otherwise he must be saved for greater responsibility in test. Middle order batting is pretty set with Mahamudullah, Shakib, Mushfique, Sabbir and Nasir providing strength, diversity and depth. Would like to play with two pacers Rubel and Taskin and add Arafat Sunny to pair with Shakib in the spin attack. But the real threat will be playing Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan and Rahat Ali. They have pace and swing. If Bangladesh cannot have good opening partnership and loose two three quick wickets even the strong middle order will come under strong challenge. True a changed Saeed Aajmal and Yasir Shah may not cause panic but batting under pressure by middle order against them may not be easy.

The advantage that Bangladesh has that Soumya Sarkar and Shabbir are quality emerging players and Nasir is back with a bang. With Mahamudullah and Mushfique in tremendous form Bangladesh only needs Tamim and Shakib back in business.

The absence of Misbah and Afridi has considerably weakened Pakistan brtille batting strength. But the return of their experienced batsman Mohammad Hafiz (the professor) and cool Azhar Ali will give stability. Fawad Alam another effective batsman back in the side can cause problem in the late middle order. Otherwise Asad Shafique and Sarfraz Ahmed are two other batsmen Bangladesh should keep eyes on. A Sami Aslam, Mohammad Rizwan and Harris Sohail are rookies who must not worry Bangladesh.

For tomorrows match will suggest the following team

Tamim Iqbal, Roni Talukdar, Soumya Sarkar , Mahamudullah Riad ,Shakib Al Hasan , Shabbir Rahman , Nasir Hossain , Arafat Sunny , Rubel Hossain and Taskin Ahmed .

Soumya Sarkar, Nasir and Mahamudullah must share the role of fifth bowler. Younger Pakistan batting may struggle against spin attack of Pakistan.

My money will be on Bangladesh making a winning start. We have broken the jinx against Pakistan and now Bangladesh must rock and roll.

BDST: 0818 HRS, APR 16, 2015

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