Bangladesh has banked on experience – the 2019 side retains 8 players from the last World Cup, their collective experience tallying 113 World Cup matches, the most for any team in this edition.
The side has been steadily upwardly mobile in ICC events – quarterfinalists in the 2015 World Cup, then semifinalists in the 2017 Champions Trophy. It takes a brave man to call them underdogs now.
The side’s trump card is a middle order comprising Shakib-Al-Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah who come behind reliable opener Tamim Iqbal.
Since 2017, Iqbal has scored 1498 runs at an outstanding average of 62, the highest for any Bangladeshi batsman: Tamim is also the seventh highest run getter among all batsmen after he amassed 870 runs since 2018.
His performance in ICC tournaments is not worth mentioning, but his numbers in England surely are
Tamim’s opening partner Soumya Sarkar has also hit good form; in the recently concluded Tri- series Sarkar was the highest run getter with 193 runs in 4 matches.
But it is the troika (Shakib, Mushfiqur, Mahmudullah) in the middle that collectively make up the team’s trump. Between them, they have played nearly 600 ODIs; Mushfiqur and Shakib have over 5000 ODI runs while Mahmudullah is on the verge of hitting the 4000 run mark.
Shakib is the fifth player in history to have scored over 5000 runs and taken 200 wickets or more in ODIs. Since 2018, he has a batting average of over 40, the best for any all-rounder. And since 2017, Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah feature in the top 10 run-scorer list for batsmen batting below number three.
What the side longs for is a quality finisher. Since 2017 Bangladesh have scored at an underwhelming 6.17 runs per over between overs 41 to 50, the worst in the death overs after Sri Lanka. Two people will fight for the spot -- Mosaddesk Hossain and Sabbir Rahman. But with his heroics in the tri-series final against West Indies Mossadek will be the front-runner for this position.
Skipper Mashrafe Mortaza has a win percentage of 58, the highest for any Bangladeshi captain who has played a minimum of 25 matches. Mortaza is the leading wicket taker for Bangladesh with 264 scalps, and has the most number of wickets (18) in ICC tournaments.
Since 2018, Bangladeshi pacers in the powerplays have a strike rate of 44, which is better than England, India, Pakistan and West Indies. The return of Mustafizur Rahman – the fastest Bangladeshi pacer to 50 wickets, and a fixture in the top five wicket takers list since 2018 -- has bolstered the pace attack.
Since the 2015 World Cup, Mustafizur has a Strike rate of 27.4, the second best for any pacer who has taken a minimum of 50 wickets. The key factor when assessing the pace attack is that all pacers in the squad have an economy rate of less than 6.
The spinners have been Bangladesh’s main weapon when playing at home, but they make poor travelers. Since 2017, the Bangladesh spinners have a strike rate of 81, the worst amongst all CWC 2019 teams.
This also reflects in the team’s success ratio. At home, in all ODIs since the 2015 WC, Bangladesh has a win percentage of 61 – but when they travel, they have a terrible record, winning only 27 percent of games.
All told, Bangladesh appears to have all or most of its bases covered, and can potentially cause an upset or two – if, and this is the big if, they can turn around their record of being poor travelers. Making the semis is doubtful, but one thing is for sure – the way they play their cricket, crowds are in for a lot of entertainment.