With less than a week to go for the commencement of very exciting mega event of world cricket, ICC Champions Trophy, Bengal Tigers bearing green and red look threatening to title aspirants.
The tournament features 8 teams ranked in order of ICC ODI ranking. Bangladesh is now on sixth with three former world champions of the past West Indies, Pakistan and Sri Lanka lying behind. Under the charismatic captaincy of Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Bengal tigers look like a dangerous opposition hungry for success playing fearless cricket. Sky seems to be their limit.
Experienced super stars teaming with high quality emerging players make team tigers a very difficult opposition for any team now at world stage.
Bangladesh after 11 years since they last appeared in the Champions trophy is appearing with the tag of a dark horse capable of even going all the way. Proven track records in the recent past would evidence that team Tigers is no longer a mere push over, can no longer taken for granted in any global event of cricket.
In the ICC World Cup 2015, they qualified for quarter final and many would agree got a rough deal from the umpires in the quarter final against India at the MCG. Following that sad episode, Bangladesh white washed Pakistan (3- 0), won successive series against India and South Africa (2-1), brushed aside Zimbabwe.
Pakistan beat England in the last two ICC World Cups. In the recent past they went down narrowly (1-2). After an inconsistent New Zealand tour Bangladesh finished a very important Sri Lanka tour sharing honors in all formats (Test, ODI and T20).
They looked well accustomed to conditions in the recently concluded Tri nation series in Ireland. Bangladesh is looking good. Two practice matches against Pakistan and India will assist further in assessing the best squad.
As told already, it is not how fare Bangladesh do in a difficult group a featuring home team England and formidable Tasman neighbors Australia and New Zealand. It is now being discussed how Bangladesh can move to business session at round two.
There is no doubt that tournament opener match between host England and Bangladesh would be the key. The event being an ICC event, the wicket at Oval is now being thought to be green top assisting English bowlers. Bangladesh is also not novice now in such condition. In Mustafizur Rahman Bangladesh possesses one of most dangerous pacers in the limited over cricket now. His cutters proved deceptive against best batsmen even.
Will old fox Mashrafe, even with his reduced pace, is also a potential wicket taker with his subtle movement and cleverly disguised variations of pace. Rubel Hossain is bowling fast and accurate. His deadly toe crashing Yorkers may prove difficult to handle. Even the bench strength with Taskin Ahmed, Shaiful Islam and Subashish Roy have quality in them.
Do not confuse Bangladesh with quality pacers now can match Australia, England and New Zealand. In spinning department Shakib Al Hasan, Mehedi Hasan Miraz and Nasir Hossain are no less competent. Bowling wise Bangladesh can now match the best of the best.
Tamim in recent time has proved against all opposition that he belongs to elite group of batsmen now. His clever mix of aggression with patience makes him a potential match winner. His partner Soumya Sarkar is a belligerent stroke maker. He has a Caribbean flavour in his batting. At number three fearless Sabbir Rahman is now knocking at the door of batting stardom.
A little patience may make him rock and roll in every match. Mushfiquer Rahim, Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan, Mosaddek Hossain and Nasir Hossain give depth and diversity of quality batting strength. Bangladesh may cause headache for any opposition if any two or three of the above can hold their own. Be sure Bangladesh would cause lot of worries to title chaser. Won’t be surprised if they storm into round two.
But for that to happen Bangladesh has to field well, field tight, take all their catches. We have seen how clinical they can be in some recent matches. They fielded with the same agility and ferocity of Jhonty Rhodes. When a veteran war horse Mashrafe dives full length, when Tamim takes good catches in the deep expecting Sabbir, Mosaddek, Soumya and Nasir blinders become a pleasant site.
Beware of Bengal tigers. They look well set for pouncing on the prey.