Bangladesh will be making their fifth Champions Trophy appearance in June, but have not appeared in the competition since 2006, and a fixture against the Tigers is an extremely different prospect now to what it was back then.
Indeed, they have scored more than 161 just three times in the tournament in their eight matches, and twice have been bowled out for a double-figure score.
Bangladesh Champions Trophy Preview
While their run of five consecutive series wins after the 2015 World Cup has tailed off slightly, Bangladesh put up a strong fight against England in October’s ODI series to lose 2-1, and recently drew 1-1 against Sri Lanka.
Put simply, Bangladesh will want the pitches to spin.
Fortunately for them, the surfaces at The Oval and Sophia Gardens – the venues for their group stage games – are both known for taking turn, and in a Pool featuring England, Australia and New Zealand, if the ball spins, then Bangladesh’s attack will be a handful.
The talismanic Shakib Al Hasan remains the number one-ranked all-rounder in the world, and his slow left-arm bowling will undoubtedly be used to great effect in the middle overs of an innings as the Tigers look to strangle their opposition.
And 19-year-old Mehedi Hasan will look to translate an excellent start to his Test career into the white-ball formats, as he competes with Sunzamul Islam for the second spinner’s berth.
The seam attack will be led by captain Mashrafe Mortaza and left-arm sensation Mustafizur Rahman, who, despite having played just 14 ODIs, is one of the stand-out names at the tournament.
Whereas the other teams in their Pool have an almost limitless number of batsmen capable of leading their sides to a score of 350 or more, Bangladesh are perhaps too reliant on a handful of players.
Indeed, when Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmadullah do not fire, they can often crumble: whilst the likes of Soumya Sarkar are undoubtedly talented, they might not have the power that has become necessary in the modern game.
Captain Mashrafe Mortaza made his ODI debut sixteen years ago, but is still only 33.
And while his career statistics – a batting average of 14.28 and a bowling average over 30 – appear underwhelming, they do not paint a fair picture of his recent worth to the side.
Coming in down the order and often both opening and closing the bowling, Mortaza can have a match-winning impact with both bat and ball, as demonstrated by his performance in the second ODI against England in October.
After spanking a 29-ball 44 to drag Bangladesh to 238-8 in their fifty overs, Mortaza took 4-29 in 8.4 overs to seal the win, as well as shuffling his weaker bowlers brilliantly to avoid giving England’s middle order any time to settle.
Performances like that, as well as his cool head and tactical nous, mean that Mortaza, despite not being as big a name as Tamim, Shakib or Mushfiqur, could well be Bangladesh’s most important man at the Champions Trophy
- Tamim Iqbal
- Imrul Kayes
- Soumya Sarkar
- Mushfiqur Rahim (wk)
- Shakib Al Hasan
- Mosaddek Hossain
- Sunzamul Islam
- Mashrafe Mortaza (c)
- Rubel Hossain
- Mustafizur Rahman
Can Bangladesh Win It?
Realistically, Bangladesh will be up against it this tournament. However, if they can provide an upset and beat either England or Australia in one of their first two fixtures, a shoot-out against New Zealand could loom in their final game. Whilst a semi-final appearance is extremely unlikely, Bangladesh’s chances should not be completely discounted.