Monday, February 26, 2024

Make or break for Tigers

Hosts take on England today
With Bangladesh taking on England today, is it all set up for a breathtaking game of cricket at the ICC Cricket World Cup?
The question came to the fore since the most exciting games in the World Cup so far have involved England. All eyes will thus be fixed on today’s day-night match at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in the port city.
England began with a hard-fought victory over minnows Netherlands that was followed by a tied match against India, a heartbreaking loss against Ireland and a nail-biting six-run success against South Africa; enough to show how inconsistent they have been in the tournament.
But everything will depend on how the under-pressure Tigers will bounce back in the crucial match after a meek surrender to West Indies in the previous game at Mirpur. The Tigers have yet to play their best cricket in the event although they won against Ireland after some impressive batting against India in an 87-run defeat.
“We have to keep in mind that we have to perform well,” said Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan yesterday adding that his side was ready to erase the nightmarish memory of the West Indies.
A win will all but confirm England’s entry to the quarterfinals while for Shakib’s men a victory not only will keep the hopes alive of advancing into the next round but also bring back the enthusiasm among the cricket crazy fans of the country which was dented after Bangladesh hit their lowest ODI total of 58 against the Caribbean.
The expectation and hype were not same as it was before the first three games, rather there has been a huge on and off the field pressure for Jamie Siddons’s charges ahead of this big challenge. There has been a lot of talk about whether Shakib can show his character in the match as the Bangladesh captain was the centre of all controversy following the nine-wicket defeat to West Indies.
The world’s number one all-rounder has got a chance to renew everyone’s faith in him but to do that his team has to come strongly with the bat and he must get back his rhythm with his left-arm spin as well as with the bat to boost up the vulnerable middle-order.
The Bangladesh team however was upbeat with their chances against England as they pinned their hopes on their slow bowlers but the question remains whether the batsmen can apply themselves in the middle and refrain from making the same mistakes they did in the previous games.
The Bangladesh think-tank was considering changes to the batting line-up to bring up solidity as Mushfiqur Rahim might go back to his number six position to allow Rokibul Hasan a chance to bat at his customary number four position. There is a chance to see two changes in the team as all-rounder Mahmudullah Riyad is likely to replace Mohammad Ashraful while left-arm spinner Sohrawardi Shuvo may come in place of pacer Rubel Hossain. But if dew is a factor then Bangladesh may drop the idea of playing one pacer.
It is believed that the spinners will play a vital role in the match and that’s why England may also play with three spinners in Graeme Swann, James Tredwell and Michael Yardy.
Praising his spinners and batsmen, England skipper Andrew Strauss branded Bangladesh as a dangerous side especially in their own den. But now it’s time for the Tigers to prove a point by roaring in a must-win game to keep alive the World Cup for millions of cricket fans in the country.

 

Courtesy of The Daily Star

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