By: Paarth Joshi
After a comprehensive series win over the West Indies, Bangladesh comes into the Asia Cup rested and poised to make a deep run in the tournament.
Bangladesh will look to its experience to anchor the batting. Both Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan have been in superb form in the last 18 months. The talented lefty duo has had success against the Sri Lankan and Indian bowling attacks, which should give the team great confidence going into those matchups. Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim provide solid middle order options and can score in a hurry as well if necessary.
The pace attack will center around the likes of the captain, Mashrafe Mortaza. Mustafizur Rahman will also have a critical role to play. He has proved to be a very economical bowler in limited over formats, something that will be useful against the likes of some star studded batting lineups they will face.
The spin attack will have a lot of questions to answer. Shakib stated that he only feels “20-30% fit” for the start of the cup. He has been dealing with a finger injury since early in the year and it is clear that it is bothering him quite a bit. Mortaza will need one of his young spinners to step up to the plate if in fact Shakib's ability to bowl at full strength is compromised,
The expectations are for this team to make it to the Final Four stage. Bangladesh should be able to take care of business against Afghanistan, which most likely will be enough to put it through. The team has played Sri Lanka very closely recently, and will be fancying its chances to win that match as well and take the top spot in the group. The Final Four stage is where this team will really be tested. Bangladesh will likely see either India or Pakistan standing in the way of an appearance in the final. But as we have seen in the past year, Bangladesh has the capability to play any team close. If the squad can get some big performances from its stars, Bangladesh could be in a position to upset one, or possibly both, of the tournament favorites.
Full Squad: Mashrafe Mortaza (C), Shakib Al-Hasan, Abu Hider, Ariful Haque, Liton Das, Mahmudullah, Mehidy Hasan, Mohammad Mithun, Mosaddek Hossain, Mushfiqur Rahim (WK), Mustafizur Rahman, Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Nazmul Islam, Rubel Hossain, Tamim Iqbal
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