The Bangladesh cricket team has been given a variety of monikers in the past, ranging from minnows to giant slayers to chokers.
Minnows is a tag they have shed in recent years as The Tigers strive to become a cricketing power. Having beaten all the top sides in the world on a consistent basis, Bangladesh are no longer viewed as pushovers.
At the 2007 World Cup, Bangladesh announced itself in style with a victory against sub-continental rivals India, and then grabbed its first ever win against the Proteas.
Unprecedented success ensued in 2015, with Bangladesh reaching the quarterfinals by dumping England. That was followed by a semifinal appearance in the 2017 Champions Trophy.
Still fresh from the euphoria of defeating South Africa at the Kennington Oval on Sunday, Bangladesh will be in readiness for a fired up New Zealand side. The question is, can the Tigers continue their giant-killing spree?
Numbers would suggest not. Prior to 2015 Bangladesh, did have the occasional flashes of brilliance but consistency was elusive. Since then, it has been a matter of various stalwarts standing up and propelling the side in a successful era.
Come June 6, it will be a battle between a free flowing, fearless Bangladeshi batting unit and the raw fiery pace that the Kiwis possess.
Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar have been prolific in recent times getting Bangladesh off to some flying starts. Tamim has been a vital cog in the Bangladesh set-up, coming into the tournament with an average of 62.4 since 2017. A finger injury two days prior to the South Africa clash hampered his preparation, and it was clearly visible in the way he played on Sunday. Tamim was scratchy to say the least, and limped to 16 off 29 balls.
His proficiency at the top, when he is fit and in form, has been largely due to his success against the new ball -- but Trent Boult is one pacer he hasn’t been able to get going against.
It might not have been a rank turner, but there was certainly some assistance for the spinners at the Oval. While New Zealand depend on pace and bounce, Bangladesh will hope spinners do the trick for them.
But if statistics are to be believed, Bangladesh’s bowling unit will have to prep for a leather hunt. Barring Colin Munro, New Zealand’s top order average in excess of 50 against Mashrafe Mortaza’s men.
Given it is his last World Cup, Martin Guptill will look to cash in against a side he has thoroughly dominated through his career. There is not too much Bangladesh’s bowlers can do to trouble the strapping batsman with him dominating pacers and spinners alike with his lusty blows.
Both teams have got off to the ideal start, albeit with contrasting victories, but New Zealand will definitely turn up at the Oval the more confident of the two and look to carry forward momentum.
For Bangladesh it will be another case of whether it can further reaffirm the
giant killing status and push towards further World Cup glory.