Ever since making their world cup debut in 1999, Bangladesh’s journey from underdogs to giant-killers to probable contenders in international tournaments has been mesmerising to watch for any cricket fan.
This is a team that wears passion on their sleeves and though not many would put their money on the Bangladesh Tigers to go all the way in the 2019 World Cup which has an all-play-all group format, they can be the deciding factor in which team misses out on the semi-final berth.
Ranked seventh in the world, Bangladesh have the potential to beat any team on their day and have registered one-day series wins against the likes of India, Pakistan and South Africa since making it to their first world cup quarter-finals in 2015. They made it to the final of the Asia Cup as well in 2018. But in order to make it to the top-four they will need to register at least five wins in nine matches and for that, consistency is key.
History at the World Cup
Bangladesh shot into sudden limelight in their first-ever appearance in the World Cup 20 years ago when they upset pre-tournament favourites Pakistan. That performance also helped them earn Test status within a year.
Their performance graph has never been consistent as they failed to win a single match in 2003 and then went on to dump India out of the 2007 edition in the group stage – a result that forced ICC to revamp the tournament format four years later. However, they could not maintain the same consistency in the Super 8 stage, where they could only manage a win against South Africa.
This was followed with a forgettable performance in home conditions in 2011 before they made it to their first quarterfinals in 2015. Though they lost by over 100 runs against India, the match created enough bad blood between the two teams due to a few controversial decisions and it remains to be seen how their fans react when the two teams face-off against each other in England.
Bangladesh's history at the World Cup
|1999||P: 5, W: 2, L: 3||Bangladesh could not clear the group stage in their first appearance but their victory over Pakistan was a big boost.|
|2003||P: 6, W:0, L:5, NR: 1||Bangladesh failed to win any match and finished last in the group.|
|2007||P: 9, W: 3, L: 6||They reached the Super 8 stage with an upset win over India in the group stage.|
|2011||P: 6, W:3, L: 3||Playing most of their matches on home turf, they failed to get past the group stage.|
|2015||P: 7, W: 3, L: 3, NR: 1||Reached the quarterfinals where they lost to India.|
Since the World Cup in 2015
The 2015 World cup quarterfinal result might not have gone Bangladesh’s way but the team has successfully managed to build on that run in the last four years and registered five one-day series wins between April 2015 to October 2016.
Under the able leadership of Mashrafe Mortaza, the team also reached the semifinals of the 2017 Champions Trophy, before a runner-up finish at Asia Cup. Bangladesh have warmed up for the quadrennial event by winning their first multi-nation tournament when they defeated West Indies in Dublin last week.
Mortaza’s men have recorded 13 wins out of last 20 matches, including a series win over West Indies, an appearance in the 2018 Asia Cup Final and the dominating performance in the recent tri-series, also involving Ireland.
Top five batsmen since the 2015 World Cup
|Player||Matches [Innings]||Runs [50s / 100s]||Average / Strike-rate|
|Tamim Iqbal||52 ||2511 [18/7]||57.06 / 79.16|
|Mushfiqur Rahim||59 ||2107 [12/4]||47.88 / 87.42|
|Shakib-Al-Hasan||51 ||1544 [14/1]||38.60 / 86.11|
|Soumya Sarkar||37 ||1272 [9/2]||38.54 / 101.59|
|Mahmudullah||59 ||1269 [8/1]||32.53 / 80.31|
Top five bowlers since the 2015 World Cup
|Player||Matches [Innings]||Wickets [5-fors / 4-fors]||Average / Strike-rate|
|Mustafizur Rahman||46 ||83 [3/3]||22.27 / 27.3|
|Mashrafe Mortaza||60 ||75 [0/2]||34.17 / 40.0|
|Shakib-Al-Hasan||51 ||59 [1/2]||35.22 / 43.7|
|Rubel Hossain||38 ||46 [0/2]||33.23 / 35.3|
|Mehidy Hasan Miraz||28 ||29 [0/1]||34.93 / 47.8|
Keys to qualifying for the semi-finals
Consistency. That should be buzzword in the Bangladesh dressing room ahead of the World Cup along with the constant reminder that pressure should serve as strength rather than weakness.
There is no doubt that Bangladesh boasts of some extremely talented cricketers but they have rarely been able to play consistently as a unit to challenge for the big trophies. Their run to the 2018 Asia Cup final despite off-field issues notwithstanding, the team has known to succumb under pressure of expectations from their fans and themselves. It remains to be seen whether the experience of playing across the globe for last four years has changed anything for them.
That inconsistency reflects in their top order as well with Liton Das still struggling to make an impact, putting additional pressure on Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar.
With the tournament expected to be a high scoring affair, the spin bowlers would be the key for Bangladesh as they will have to restrict the scoring rate in the middle overs since only Mustafizur Rahman can be banked upon to bowl those scorching yorkers and surprise the batsmen with his slower variations in the death overs. Mortaza, however, has a reputation of being shrewd with his leadership and would hope to rally the troops like only he can.
X-Factor at CWC 2019
The only answer is Shakib-Al-Hasan. The top ranked all-rounder in the world is called the nucleus of the side because he can fit in the squad as a batsman or a bowler, giving them the flexibility to pick the final XI based on conditions and strengths/weaknesses of the opposition.
Despite his run-ins with the administration, the 32-year-old former skipper still has the respect of most of his teammates and can be seen motivating them on the field.
But it is his ability to change the course of the match with bat or ball that could be crucial in England as he may have to hold the middle order together in crisis and also find quick runs with the bat. His bowling prowess will help stem the flow of runs in the middle overs with the ball and he can be banked to deliver consistently.
Mashrafe Mortaza (c), Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Shakib Al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das, Sabbir Rahman, Mehidy Hasan, Mohammad Mithun, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Abu Jayed, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mosaddek Hossain.
|South Africa||The Oval||Sunday, June 2||3:00 pm|
|New Zealand||The Oval||Wednesday, June 5||6:00 pm|
|England||Cardiff Wales Stadium||Saturday, June 8||3:00 pm|
|Sri Lanka||Bristol Cricket Ground||Tuesday, June 11||3:00 pm|
|West Indies||County ground Taunton||Monday, June 17||3:00 pm|
|Australia||Trent Bridge||Thursday, June 20||3:00 pm|
|Afghanistan||Hampshire Bowl||Monday, June 24||3:00 pm|
|India||Edgbaston||Tuesday, July 2||3:00 pm|
|Pakistan||Lord's||Friday, July 5||3:00 pm|