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Straight Bat: Is there life after Bristol?

  • Published at 11:57 pm June 11th, 2019
Bangladesh cricketers react during their World Cup match against England in Cardiff Saturday Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik from Cardiff

Bangladesh’s chances of making it to the semis are almost gone now

It was not bad umpiring or ICC conspiracies but the rain that hit Bangladesh hard.  And losses against two top teams already had laid the platform. 

Bangladesh’s chances of making it to the semis are almost gone now. Sri Lanka’s move into the top tier is also due to rain. It is not cricket but luck. No credit and no shame for the abandoned Tuesday match at Bristol. But Bangladesh can take this opportunity for the rest of the tournament to test how good they are with the pressure of the semifinals much less. 

Let’s face it. Bangladesh has not played like a top team. New Zealand and England have shown that Bangladesh is still on a learning curve. A series win against West Indies is great but not enough to qualify as a ‘big boy." Its win against South Africa now seems less spectacular given SA’s later performances. 

But media and fans have unfairly hyped the situation creating great expectations. It was this pressure that may have hit them hard more than playing for the cup. 

Tamim has been a casualty as he admitted of trying too hard. He was the batting anchor. Shakib has done much better with the bat than the ball, an extra bonus really. Its Tamim, Soummya, Miraj, Mohammadullah, etc who are supposed to get the runs as the bowlers contain the opponents. 

Also Read- Straight Bat: Shakib’s injury, Tamim’s form, weak bowling, and the rain

But the bowling has been below par. This national denial about the quality-level of our bowlers has hurt Bangladesh. As the results show, the pitches were meant for seamers and pacers and Bangladesh offered no serious honcho. 

Every commentator said the same and asked about this weakness. Even Shakib is not a match winner but a container of runs who also takes wickets. Our belief in spin was almost religious which flubbed. 

Mashrafee was not useful though his value as a captain remains. Fizz has not really delivered for a while. Saifuddin did much better than expected but it was not a winning attack or strategy. But this is not a post-match roasting but an appeal for reality checks. 

Bangladesh is a mid-level team and not yet a semi-finals contender. That’s fine. Going by current form, nor is South Africa, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, West Indies or Afghanistan. So, what it needs to do is to set achievable targets not unattainable dreams. It seems the team management really believed in the Bangladesh media hype. It was not necessary because when the team misses the target, the crowd, expecting cricket miracles are left with rain draws and bad losses that dampen the spirit.   

Bangladesh should set fresh targets for the rest of the cup as it is a great opportunity to play so quality many teams in this tournament. India, Australia, West Indies, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are incredible opponents and good matches including a win or two will make the 2019 Cup a memorable outing for us.