The excitement is palpable as one of the most enthralling tournaments in world cricket is almost upon us. The ICC T20I World Cup gets underway this month, and we preview the 16 teams that will be competing to lift the famous trophy. Here we have the lowdown on Bangladesh.

On the back of historic series wins over Australia and New Zealand, Bangladesh go into the ICC T20I World Cup in sublime form. They will need to overcome the first round hurdle to qualify for the Super 12s. But they will have their sights set on loftier goals. Led by Mahmudullah, this Bangladesh squad looks better than ever. The conditions in the UAE will suit them quite well. And the big teams certainly won’t fancy playing against them at the World Cup.

Recent Form

No other team can boast of going into the ICC T20I World Cup in better form than Bangladesh. After earning resounding series wins against Australia and New Zealand, the Tigers are on a mighty high. And they will be ready to roar come World Cup time. Bangladesh have won 9 of the 16 T20Is they have played in 2021, with their only series defeat coming in New Zealand at the start of the year. But luckily for them, the conditions in UAE will be closer to those in Bangladesh than the ones in New Zealand. So their spin heavy contingent could be handful for any batting line-up in the world.

Biggest Strength

Bangladesh’s biggest strength is undoubtedly their bowling, and more specifically their spin bowling. They have so much variety in their squad, In Mahedi Hasan, Nasum Ahmed, Shakib Al Hasan, Afif Hossain and Mahmudullah, Bangladesh have four quality spin bowlers who will offer great variation and variety to their attack. The spin bowlers will be backed up by two quality fast bowlers in Mustafizur Rahman and Shoriful Islam.

Biggest Weakness

If there is one weakness in the Bangladesh squad, it is their lack of composure with the bat. Far too often we have seen Bangladesh make a meal (or almost make a meal) of easy chases in recent weeks. They tend to lose wickets in quick succession and that is a worrying sign going into the tournament. With Tamim Iqbal absent, Bangladesh also lack firepower at the top of the order. Naim Sheikh and Liton Das haven’t been able to show the necessary aggression needed at the top of the order in T20I cricket so far. And they will need Mahmudullah and Shakib Al Hasan to lead the team with their experience.

Bangladesh are no longer the underdogs heading into this tournament,
with The Tigers sitting 6th on the ICC T20 World Rankings

What the media are saying

There is a real sense of optimism regarding Bangladesh’s chances going into the T20I World Cup. Several former Bangladesh cricketers have recently spoken about the belief that the whole country in the team’s chances. And if they deliver a good showing in the Group phase, they can cause a few problems to the big teams in the Super 12s. There is a growing feeling that this tournament could be an opportunity for Bangladesh to show what they are capable of.

Mustafizur Rahman took 14 wickets in 14 games for the Rajasthan Royals in this years IPL

Star Player

There are a number of star players in this Bangladesh side. But the biggest key to their hopes will be Mustafizur Rahman. Known as Fizz, the left-arm pace bowler caused Australia all sorts of problems earlier this year. He is Bangladesh’s bowling superstar, and the stats show that.

Mustafizur Rahman has taken 76 wickets in T20I cricket and has an economy rate of 7.48. But if you look at his stats in 2021, that economy rate drops to just 5.77. The 26 year old will be further helped by the fact that he is playing in the IPL for the Rajasthan Royals, allowing him to get used to the conditions and get some game time before the T20I World Cup.

Afif Hossain has an high score of 52 as well as 7 T20I wickets 

Keep an eye on…

Afif Hossain could be set to show his quality on the biggest stage of them all this month. The highly rated all-rounder showed glimpses of his quality with the bat during the series against Australia and New Zealand. And he could be set to play the role of the finisher for Bangladesh at the World Cup. He is also a decent off-break bowler, even though he hasn’t gotten too many opportunities with the ball for Bangladesh so far. Afif Hossain has a very bright future ahead of him, and the T20I World Cup could be the start of that.

 

Projected XI

Naim Sheikh, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah, Afif Hossain, Nurul Hasan, Mahedi Hasan, Shoriful Islam, Nasum Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman

Prediction

While there are several stronger teams on paper, this exciting and confident Bangladesh side can go toe to toe with any of them. Bangladesh will be looking to make light work of what should be an easy to navigate Group B to seal their place in the Super 12s. If they manage to finish first in their group, their chances of making it to the knockout rounds will definitely increase. There is something special brewing in Bangladesh, and they could be the dark horses to win the T20I World Cup this year