Captain: Mashrafe Mortaza
2007 – Crashed out in Super 8s, losing all three games.
2009 – Exited in first stage, losing to India and Ireland.
2010 – Lost in first stage, losing to Pakistan and Australia.
2012 – Lost in first stage, losing to New Zealand and Pakistan.
2014 – Qualified, lost in first stage, losing all four games.
The only time this long-time Asian “minnow” team made it past the first stage was back in the first 2007 T20 World Cup – when it defeated West Indies to sneak into the Super 8s. After that, it has failed to win a single match against a Test playing nation – though, in 2014, it qualified into its group by defeating Nepal, Afghanistan and Hong Kong. Such has been the slow progress of Bangladesh cricket – and it hasn’t quite come to terms with the demands of a T20 World tournament.
However, 2015 was a game changer for this young Asian nation. It reached the quarterfinal of the ODI World Cup (losing to India), and then went on to win bilateral ODI home series against South Africa, Pakistan and India in quick succession. This elevated them to a rank above West Indies, though their T20 fortunes have still left them at No. 10. A solid Asia Cup, where they defeated Sri Lanka and Pakistan at home, meant that they will enter the World T20 as second favorites behind India in the group – consisting of New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan (in terrible form) and themselves – if they qualify. Their qualifying starts a week before the main group stages, where they will have to defeat the likes of Ireland, Netherlands and Oman in their group. This won’t be easy, knowing Ireland’s love for the odd upset, and Netherlands’ consistently professional performances. However, sub-continental conditions should serve Bangladesh well. They will be on a roll once they qualify, and will be hard to beat. They won’t be taken for granted as the “qualifier” in their group, for sure.
They’re currently a better Asian limited overs side than Sri Lanka and Pakistan – which is a testament to the whole bunch of young new players that have come through the ranks. The rise of Mustafizur Rahman, Sabbir Rahman (Man of the Asia Cup), Soumya Sarkar, Al-Amin Hossain and Taskin Ahmed has coincided with their own rise up the table.
Youth. The above mentioned names will play under the influence of “seniors” like Tamim Iqbal (26), Shakib Al Hasan (28), Mushfiqur Rahim (28), Mashrafe (the oldest at 32) and Nasir Hussain (24) – who are the more experienced ones. They have years ahead of them, and will guide the new crop of talent in a way that they become formidable opposition in any tournament they enter. The form of Mahmudullah – another “senior” player – as the big-hitting finisher in this format has been a massive plus for a side that often loses its way after good starts. Their bowlers, Mustafizur and Taskin, are up there with anyone in world cricket as far as skill and promise is concerned, while all-rounder Shakib is still the best there is. Tamim Iqbal, their most decorated batsman, will have to ensure he gives them bright starts, and perhaps play on as an anchor for an explosive middle order.
Keeper and ex-captain Mushfiqur Rahim had a wretched Asia Cup, and he is crucial to Bangladesh’s batting fortunes. They still did well without Mustafizur right till the final, and will hope that Rahim, Shakib and Tamim set an example before showing the others the way. Their temperament in the middle overs (9-15) is a bit sketchy too, but captain Mashrafe must take more responsibility as a big hitter and finisher, more as an all-rounder than a bowler in his team. They won’t be playing at home either, which somehow affects their performances a lot more.
50:50 chance to reach the semis – depending on how they start their tournament. Their performances against Ireland, and then against New Zealand in the group, will be the key to their progress. If they can play to their potential, they could join India in the semis.