The small ground at Taunton is likely to see a lot of balls sailing over the fence with the likes of Chris Gayle, Andre Russel and co: relishing that prospect and the Bangladeshi’s preparing themselves well to make sure they are well equipped to negotiate the inevitable short stuff that the West Indians are going to feed them with. Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar in particular would be anticipating some chin music and choosing the right delivery to attack, leave or defend effectively would depend on how quickly the Bangladeshi’s are able to adjust to the wicket.
Needless to say that it’s a must win game for both teams from here onwards and Bangladesh would rue their loss to New Zealand as the run out miss by Mushfiqur Rahim in one of the most outrageous fashion imaginable. The fans and players alike couldn’t be wishing a better start from the openers and in particular Tamim Iqbal.The left handed opening batsman from Bangladesh is not only one of the best player of the side but has been one of the most consistent players in world cricket presently averaging more than 50 runs per innings.The manner in which the West Indians succumbed to England at Bristol the other day doesn’t augur well for them as they’ve been at the receiving end against the Bangladeshi’s during recent times.Their recent drubbing at the hands of Mashrafe and his men during the triangular series in Ireland should be fresh in their minds and trying to redeem themselves after their defeat against England ought to be playing in the minds of Bangladesh as well. It is imperative however that Mashrafe himself along with the likes of Shakib and Mushfique are absolutely injury free as should be others who may be carrying few odd niggles.
The only man to be left out of the side today due to poor performance would be MohdMithun who’s preposterous shot against Adil Rashid in only the second ball faced denied Bangladesh from a worthwhile chase. Tamim Iqbals lack of form is not only a cause for concern for the batsman himself but has been denying his side from the muchneeded starts that has resulted in so many of his sides triumphs of late.
Along with Soumya Sarkar, Tamim Iqbal forms a very effective opening pair with the senior statesman holding back more often and allowing his young partner to take center stage. A very stylish batsman and particularly severe on the short deliveries, Soumya Sarkar would be keen to unwind himself against Oshane Thomas and co: with whom he’s had some scintillating innings to boot.Mushfiqur Rahim has also been in decent form and his partnerships with Shakib Al Hasan in particular has given the side the much needed impetus and should both be fit to play today their importance to the context of the game can be hardly over emphasized.
The one change that may appear to be rationale is the ouster of MohdMithun with the replacement being Shabbir Rahman. Many may question Shabbirs selection over Liton Das because of his form with the bat but it is Shabbirs experience in the middle order and in the power play position along with his occasional leg spinner that ought to elbow out the elegant Liton Das.
The ineffectiveness of the Bangladesh skipper as an opening bowler has also been a bit of a concern as not only that the wickets have dried up but the opposition batsmen have been able to work out on good starts. With the likes of Mohd Saifuddin and Mustafizur Rahman comprising of the remaining part of the attack doesn’t quite reflect the potency of a quality bowling side. With Shakib Al Hasan as the only world class bowler the youngsters like Mehdi Hasan Miraj and Mosaddeque Hossain have done a commendable job for the side so far while being batsmen who could be relied to chip in with the bat as well.
It would be interesting therefore to see if the Bangladesh think tanks decide to remain with their policy of ‘eight batsmen who can bat’ and leave out Rubel Hossain yet again and allow the slower bowlers to try and mislead the likes of Chris Gayle and many of the other hard hitters in the side into indiscretion.If the West Indians haven’t fired yet in the tournament they would want to go all guns blazing today more to settle old scores than enhance their probability of earning the top four spot and one may get to see a revitalized West Indian side.
The writer is a former opening batsman of Bangladesh National Cricket Team and a cricket commentator.