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Batting dilemma remains unsolved before World Cup showdown

  • Samsul Arefin Khan
  • 16 October, 2021 12:00 AM
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Batting dilemma remains unsolved before World Cup showdown
(From left to right) Bangladesh batsman Mushfiqur Rahim and all-rounder Afif Hossain are seen during their warm-up matches at Sheikh Zayed Stadium Nursery 2 in Abu Dhabi, UAE. – COLLECTED PHOTOS

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It’s less than 36 hours before Bangladesh take on Scotland in their opening Group B match of the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifiers in Muskat, Oman but they still remain unsettled with their out of form batting department, which is raising concern about their prospect in the global meet.

The Tigers played two warm-up matches against Sri Lanka and Ireland respectively in the build-up of the tournament in Abu Dhabi and in both the matches, the batsmen failed to score 150 plus total and it resulted in them losing both the matches.

Bangladesh enjoyed great success in the T20 format in the recent past as they won nine out of their last 13 T20Is on their way to clinching successive series victories over Zimbabwe, Australia and New Zealand respectively.

Despite achieving such big feats before the World Cup, one thing which remained a matter of concern for the Tigers and their team management was their batsmen’s off-form during those series as they mostly won those matches on the bank of their bowlers’ excellent performances.

Bangladesh batters had some handy contributions during their Zimbabwe tour where they came victorious in all three formats but in both home series against Australia and New Zealand, they were in their own shadows in the majority of the time.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board sent their team to Oman one week earlier than the scheduled time and it was because they wanted their players, especially the batsmen, to get adequate preparation for the showpiece event.

Things looked going as per plan when Bangladesh played a practice game against Oman A team in Muskat on October 8 where they notched up a comfortable 60-run win thanks to their batters, who finally showed some sign of getting back the form and posted 207-4 in the innings.

Both the openers – Liton Das and Mohammad Naim scored fifties while Nurul Hasan played a blazing cameo at the end of their innings and it seemed the team had left behind their batting worries while boarding on the flight to Muskat.

However, it didn’t take long to unfold the real scenario as they failed miserably against both Sri Lanka and Ireland during the official warm-ups and finished with scores of 147-7 and 144 all-out respectively and they eventually lost the matches by four wickets and 33 runs.

Soumya Sarkar, who has been struggling with his batting form for a while, provided some decent contributions of 34 and 37 runs respectively during those matches while Nurul played a good knock against Ireland but as a unit, they didn’t do any justice to the names.

Liton and Naim fell cheaply in both the matches while Mushfiqur Rahim, Afif Hossain and Shamim Hossain were nowhere near to good touch and it made Bangladesh suffer a lot against the teams which are currently ranked lower than Bangladesh in T20Is.

Bangladesh rested their T20 skipper Mahmudullah and also didn’t get the service of ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan during those warm-up matches and it could make Bangladesh feel relieved by thinking that when the duo would come back in the side, their batting strength should be greater than before.

However, according to Bangladesh Chief Selector Minhajul Abedin, anything under 150 runs will be very difficult to defend in the upcoming T20 World Cup.

“Anything less than 150 can be chased so I feel we have to put something around 170 or 180 to be on the safe side,” Minhajul told The Daily Sun in a recent interview.

The faster Bangladeshi batters can actually realize it, the better it will be for the team in the World Cup.