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Bangladesh Eyeing World Cup Progress

Bangladesh have made progress in their four appearances at the World Cup and they will be looking to take the next step to compete for the crown in England.

The Tigers made their first appearance in the competition in 1999, but were unable to make an impact in the tournament, being eliminated in the group stage. It was the same story in 2003 before they finally progressed to the Super Eights in 2007, only to win only one game before bowing out.

Another step back occurred in 2011 when they crashed out in the group stage, but four years ago Bangladesh did advance to the quarter-finals before falling to a 109-run defeat to India.

The Tigers qualified for the World Cup on merit due to their improvement in the 50-over format, securing their spot in the top eight of the world rankings. There is quality in their side, although it will take a special effort to advance to the semi-finals.

Squad

Mashrafe Mortaza (captain), Abu Jayed, Liton Das, Mahmudullah, Mehidy Hasan, Mohammad Mithun, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mosaddek Hossain, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Shakib Al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar, Tamim Iqbal.

Bangladesh have quality in the ranks

Overview

Bangladesh have had encouraging moments in their recent history, notably reaching the final of the Asia Cup last year. They faced off against India in the final of the competition and were only beaten on the final ball of the innings. The result was encouraging for the Tigers, although their form since has not been the best. Their previous performances in English conditions also suggest that they are going to be capable of mounting a charge for the knockout stage. Bangladesh did reach the semi-finals of the ICC Champions Trophy two years ago. The Tigers did benefit from a rain-affected contest against Australia that allowed them to advance at the expense of the Baggy Greens.

Bangladesh were then hammered by India in the semi-finals. They’ve struggled against the elite sides in the world, suffering heavy defeats on their tours of South Africa and New Zealand, failing to win a match in the process. The Tigers have produced strong results against the West Indies of late, which may aid their cause in avoiding finishing near the bottom of the standings. However, it’s going to take a fine run of results to compete for the crown as the manner of the tournament will likely prevent a similar fortuitous break as the Champions Trophy presented the Tigers.

Key Players

Tamim Iqbal – Iqbal remains the class apart at the top of the innings for Bangladesh. He provides them with power at the top of the order, and although it does not always work out, Iqbal has a fine record in the 50-over format. The 30-year-old has 11 centuries and 46 fifties to his name in 193 appearances. He has provided Bangladesh with breath-taking moments of quality with his approach, offering an aggressive power hitter. The left-hander has been in decent form of late, scoring a couple of half-centuries against the West Indies and Ireland in Bangladesh’s one-day series.

Encouragingly for the Tigers, Iqbal does have a good record in England courtesy of his outstanding displays in the Champions Trophy. He scored 293 runs in his four innings, including a century in a losing effort against England, while he also notched 95 against the Aussies. Iqbal always seems to raise his standard against the stronger teams in the world and he will have to have a very good tournament to allow his side to compete. Back him to lead the way for Bangladesh in the run column at odds of +175   with Bet365.

Iqbal is the key batter for the Tigers

Mustafizur Rahman – The 23-year-old was one of the stars of the Asia Cup last year, taking 10 wickets for Bangladesh in their surge to the final. Mustafizur has established a reputation as one of the finest bowlers in the world in the one-day format. He averages 22.27 in ODIs, taking 83 wickets in his 46 matches. Mustafizur boasts one of the best strike rates, taking a wicket every 27.3 deliveries. The left-armer poses a threat with his low action and his ability to move the ball off the seam. He should suit English conditions very well, while his ability to keep runs off the board will be vital for his team.

Mustafizur put forward a match-winning performance with the ball against the West Indies in Malahide earlier this month. He claimed figures of 4-43 in the contest, rounding into form ahead of the tournament. Bangladesh are more renowned for their spinning options, but if the 23-year-old can make inroads with the new ball it will allow the Tigers to control matches. Expectations will be high for Mustafizur and he can be backed at +300   with Bet365 to be his side’s leading bowler in the competition.

Prospects

Bangladesh are an improving side and do have quality in their ranks. Their performance at the Asia Cup highlighted their threat, although it was a tournament in familiar conditions. They’ve not travelled well throughout their history and out of the turning tracks of the sub-continent. Mustafizur and Iqbal are excellent operators and if they are able to find their form against the elite teams it would not be a surprise to see Bangladesh record a surprise win. They were fortunate to advance to the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy, but the format of the World Cup should prevent a similar run.

Teams that hope to advance to the semi-finals will have to win a lot of games in the group stage and it’s hard to see more than three victories for the Tigers. They will likely not finish bottom of the standings as Afghanistan may lock up that place. Mortaza’s men also have a good record against the West Indies so a seventh-place finish could be on the cards. There is no value in backing them to be eliminated at the group stage at -4000   with Bet365, so backing them to finish bottom at +260   may be the best option as they could also be turned over by Afghanistan.

Bangladesh
cricket
cricket world cup
Mustafizur Rahman
Tamim Iqbal

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