Bangladesh have qualified for the ICC Champions Trophy for the first time since 2006 after the competition was narrowed to eight teams.
The Tigers qualified ahead of the West Indies and will be aiming to make an impact in the tournament following a recent run of impressive performances.
Mashrafe Mortaza’s men drew their series against Sri Lanka and fared well against England on home soil, losing 2-1 to the Three Lions.
Bangladesh have not performed as strongly on their travels, being defeated heavily in New Zealand by the Black Caps at the end of last year.
As a result, the Tigers will need to display significant improvement in their adaptation to less favourable conditions.
Mortaza’s men boast one of the most experienced sides on the tournament, with five players in their 15-man squad appearing over 100 times in ODIs.
That should stand them in good stead for the challenge ahead, although their hand is already a daunting one with Australia, England and New Zealand in Group A.
We’ll now break down their betting odds for the tournament to see whether the Tigers can make an impact.
The Bangladesh batting line-up begins with Tamim Iqbal at the top of the order. The 28-year-old has been a standout player for the Tigers for the past decade and has carved out a reputation as a destructive batsman, maintaining a strong level of consistency across all formats of the game.
Iqbal has played 168 games for the Tigers, boasting an abundance of experience to take into the tournament.
He will not be daunted by the prospect of facing the attacks of Australia, England and New Zealand, having scored runs against all of those sides in the past, including a century against the Three Lions in 2010.
Iqbal has a solid average of 33.24 and has notched eight centuries in his 11-year career. Mortaza will be hopeful that one of his star men can rise to the occasion to propel his team forward, especially against the high-powered batting line-ups of Group A with quick runs a necessity.
The 28-year-old has been impressive knick since the turn of the year, firing a century in his side’s victory over Sri Lanka in Dambulla.
Carrying his form into English conditions when the ball can move off the seam in the early stages of the innings – therefore he will need to be at nothing short of his best.
Soumya Sarkar is one of the rising stars of Bangladesh cricket and could ease the pressure on Iqbal at the top of the order. In his 26 matches he has already notched one century and six fifties , including knocks of 87 and 61 in his last two appearances.
With odds of +400 with Betfair – he is an intriguing option to lead the way for Bangladesh due to the focus and pressure on Iqbal to thrive.
Mustafizur Rahman has enjoyed an impressive start to his career and enhanced his growing reputation with a four-wicket display to guide the Tigers to victory over Ireland.
The 21-year-old has taken 42 wickets in his 17 matches to date, putting in a spate of impressive performances over the last three years.
Rahman enjoyed a great start to his career by taking five wickets in a rare victory for Bangladesh over India and followed up with a six-wicket display in the second match of their series.
He missed a year of action following his impressive start, but returned to action in December last year and has maintained a strong level of form.
Conditions should favour him in England, but opening the bowling against quality batsmen will test his ability. It will be fascinating to see how he handles the pressure of facing the likes of David Warner, Alex Hales and Martin Guptill.
Shakib Al-Hasan is the experienced campaigner in the bowling unit. The 30-year-old is ranked in the top 10 of the ICC bowler rankings due to his consistent performances with his slow left arm spin.
He enters the tournament with 172 matches under his belt and in that time has taken 222 wickets at an average of 28.81. More importantly for the Tigers, the spinner has provided control in the middle overs with an economy rate of 4.87.
Al-Hasan will need to be at his miserly best to keep the runs down against the potent line-ups the Tigers will face. Should he limit the runs – the 30-year-old should be able to capitalise on the attacking play of his opponents to rack up the wickets.
Bangladesh will have their work cut out to advance from Group A – given that two of the leading contenders to win the tournament, England and Australia, are battling out for the top two places.
The Tigers were hammered by New Zealand in their recent series against the Black Caps – therefore there will be no relief in the form of Kane Williamson’s men.
Mortaza’s men will have to be nothing short of flawless to advance against three quality outfits. In some ways there are unfortunate as a draw against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India would have suited their skill sets more favourably along with their recent success against all three of the teams.
However, that has not been the case so the Tigers will have to do their utmost to battle past the sides in Group A in a bid to make history. Simply making the semi-finals would be a monumental for Bangladesh due to their struggles at major tournament.
All of their big players will need to fire throughout the group stage for them to have any chance. Iqbal, Al-Hasan, Rahman, Sarkar and Mortaza will need to be at their best, although even that may not been good enough to send them through.
Their price at +5000 with Bet365 is enticing if you fancy a long shot punt, while odds of +2000 are available for the Tigers to top Group A. It might be a shot in the dark, but stranger things have happened.
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