Can Bangladesh repeat the ‘impossible’ and reach the 2019 Cricket World Cup playoffs?
Having reached the 2015 quarter-finals, it will be much tougher for the Tigers to go beyond the group stages this time, as there will only be four semi-finalists.
Top Two Batsmen: Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah
Shakib Al Hasan is the class act of this Bangladesh side. He is almost equally good as a batsman and bowler – in fact, he is the current No 1 all-rounder in ODI cricket.
Shakib has a solid batting average of 35.73, and an equally good bowling mark of 29.95 in 198 matches. He scored two half-centuries in his last three games against the West Indies, while he has possesses an excellent bowling run-rate of 4.44.
Mahmudullah was the hero of the 2015 victory over England, scoring a brilliant 103 in the 15-run triumph in Adelaide.
He is the banker in the middle-order for Bangladesh, often batting with the tail and attempting the big hits at the end of the innings.
Top Two Bowlers: Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain
Just 23, Mustafizur Rahman has made a real difference to the Bangladesh pace attack over the last few years. His left-armers bring much-needed variety, and comes into the tournament on the back of some good form against the West Indies.
Mustafizur also has a decent economy rate of 4.88 in 46 ODIs.
Rubel Hossain is an experienced campaigner who looks to keep the runs down in the closing ‘death’ overs.
He has a decent track record of 123 wickets in 97 ODIs, although his run-rate of 5.62 is on the high side.
Captain: Mashrafe Mortaza
One of the old brigade, Mashrafe has been part of the furniture in this Bangladesh side, and at the age of 35, he will enjoy his World Cup swansong in 2019.
His pace has dropped as the years have gone by, but he could be a handful if the pitches become drier as the tournament goes on, as he likes to bowl cutters.
Bangladesh are really up against it this time. Three tough encounters straight up against South Africa, New Zealand and England will likely result in three defeats. They will have a lot of support from the large Bangladeshi community in the UK, and will aim for wins over Afghanistan, the West Indies and perhaps Sri Lanka.
Bangladesh Group Matches
2 June (11.30am): South Africa, London (The Oval)
5 June (2.30pm): New Zealand, London (The Oval)
8 June (11.30am): England, Cardiff
11 June (11.30am): Sri Lanka, Bristol
17 June (11.30am): West Indies, Taunton
20 June (11.30am): Australia, Nottingham
24 June (11.30am): Afghanistan, Southampton
2 July (11.30am): India, Birmingham
5 July (2.30pm): Pakistan, London (Lord’s)@ashfakmohamed