In the last 12 months, Bangladesh have gone through a demoralizing phase in their cricketing history. They lost all their five Super 12 matches in the 2021 World Cup in the UAE and managed just four wins out of the 19 T20Is before the 2022 World Cup – two against UAE, one against Afghanistan and Zimbabwe. Across all formats, their numbers have been low, but two moments this year stood out. Their first overseas Test win against New Zealand in January and their first ever ODI series win in South Africa in March.
In the T20Is, however, Bangladesh have never beaten the Proteas in seven matches so far. In their Super 12 encounter last year, they were bundled out for 84 at Abu Dhabi and managed to drag South Africa’s chase till the 19th over.
Proteas hope for dry conditions
South Africa are fired up for the World Cup after losing their series to India a few weeks ago as they blasted 51 runs against Zimbabwe in just three overs in their Super 12 opener. Alas, pouring rain in Hobart stood in their way of scoring the remaining 13 runs for a victory.
Head coach Mark Boucher will hope their match against the Tigers on Thursday (October 27) at the Sydney Cricket Ground doesn’t see a drop of rain. The Proteas’ history with rain delays dates back to the home ODI World Cup in 2003, where they being unaware of the revised D/L Method target, saw their exit in the group stage.
Rain interruptions will not be on Bangladesh players’ mind. They had managed to beat the Netherlands at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart to claim their first-ever victory in the second stage of the T20 World Cup. Their bowlers did their job perfectly to defend 145 in wet conditions, and will hope their batting gets better against South Africa.
Top order problems for Bangladesh
Only Mushfiqur Rahim played all seven T20Is against South Africa but has announced his retirement from the format, which makes captain Shakib Al Hasan (six matches) and Soumya Sarkar (five matches) their most experienced in the head-to-head. Sarkar has fared the best in these fixtures, scoring 135 runs at a strike rate of 155.2, while Shakib has claimed the most wickets with seven in his kitty.
They’ll hope their openers can put up a proper partnership, if not, score at a frantic pace in the powerplay, which has been a huge problem besides multiple others. They managed to put up 47 runs in the opening phase while losing Sarkar against Netherlands – which is a good thing considering they have managed to reach 50 only five times in the last 19 matches.
Bangladesh’s middle-order numbers have been baffling as they have lost a wicket every 20 balls while getting a boundary every eight balls. Afif Hossain’s measured 38 off 27 balls, followed by Mosaddek Hossain’s unbeaten 20 off 12 balls, took them to 144/8 against Netherlands, but those were a rescue act after the middle-order collapsed.
South Africa will be hoping captain Temba Bavuma to find his scoring touch after managing just 13 runs from his last five innings. However, they have Quinton de Kock at his free-flowing best and the likes of Rilee Rossow, Reeza Hendricks and David Miller in excellent form from the India series. If Bangladesh are to restrict the Proteas, they will need more than three wickets in the first 10 overs, as they have often targeted the second part of the innings to accelerate.
South Africa’s pace attack are relishing the bounce and pace on the pitches as Lungi Ngidi, and Rabada troubled the Zimbabwe batters with a barrage of short balls and got five wickets. Against a confident and strong line-up, Bangladesh will need one big performance with the ball and the bat.
Key Battle – David Miller vs Shakib Al Hasan
From the five matches he played against Bangladesh, David Miller averages 162 and has a strike rate of 184.1 while being dismissed just once. The left-hander’s maiden T20I hundred had also come against Bangladesh in 2017, which puts further value on his wicket. The key for Shakib is spare an over for himself in the last 10 and instruct his pacers to bowl off-cutters to Miller, which has brought his downfall eight times.
The wicket at SCG has been difficult for batting in the first 10 overs unless you have big hitters like New Zealand did against Australia in the Super 12 opener. In the three matches played at the venue this year, average run rate has progressed from 7.1 to 7.6 to 9.2 across the three phases, while death overs have produced the most wickets. Since the square boundaries are long, bowling back of the length and slightly short are the wise options for spinners and pacers alike.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock(WK), Temba Bavuma(C), Rilee Rossouw, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Reeza Hendricks, Wayne Parnell, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi
Bangladesh: Najmul Hossain Shanto, Soumya Sarkar, Litton Das, Shakib Al Hasan(C), Afif Hossain, Yasir Ali, Nurul Hasan(WK), Mosaddek Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud