Bangladesh flexed their 50 Overs batting muscles as they easily thumped the Windies in Thursday’s 50-Over tour game, thus sending an ominous message about the batting ahead of Saturday’s first One-Day International (ODI).
Renowned for their abilities in ODI and T20 cricket, Bangladesh will be heading into the ODI series with much confidence and already boasting a strong batting line-up, which showed glimpses Thursday that could mean trouble for the Caribbean bowlers.
However, despite their added strength in their world-class bowling attack with Mehedy Miraz, Mustafizur Rahim, Shakib Al-Hasan, skipper Mashrafe Mortaza and Rubel Hossain, it is clear that the Tigers will be banking on their star-studded batting order to do the bulk of the work over the next few games.
The return of opener Tamim Iqbal who made a clean century upon return from injury will boost the home team’s batting. With more than 6000 ODI runs, the 29-year-old has a decent record against the Caribbean side, averaging close to 37 with two centuries, one of which is unbeaten (130*) from the 19 matches played against them.
Iqbal’s 130* came against the Windies a few months ago at Providence in Guyana during the home series. The dashing left-hander then hit 54 in the next ODI before capping off an emphatic series by hitting 103 in the final ODI at Basseterre, before showing class in the T20s with a brisk 74.
His 73-ball hundred in Thursday’s practice game now makes the situation even more worrisome for the visitors as the Windies will definitely be keeping an eye out for the opener who could be an x-factor for his side should he make runs early in the series and further reaffirm his psychological grip over the Windies.
Another batsman the West Indies will be keen on containing will be Soumya Sarkar, who joined Iqbal as the other centurion in the tour game as he warmed up with 103 not out.
Despite not being a heavy scorer against the Windies this year, the left-hander has been in top form, especially in limited overs cricket. Apart from his 103, he hit 78 during the BCB XI’s practice game against the Windies prior to the Tests. In the two-match ODI series against Zimbabwe in October, he smashed scores of 117 and 102* while keeping the runs coming in the domestic circuit.
With him likely to come in at number 3, Windies will be keen on containing a dangerous Bangladesh top order. Opener Imrul Kayes will also want to channel his phenomenal form from the Zimbabwe series, where he was among the leading run-getters with scores of 43, 90, 115 and a magical 144, which he struck in the first ODI, ironically at the same venue of Saturday’s first match in Dhaka.
Bangladesh will be happy to have Shakib back in the ODI mix after returning from injury to emerge among the stars in the recently-concluded Test series. The star all-rounder has been a menace to the Windies with bat and ball throughout their encounters this year.
Also, with Mortaza winning the previous ODI series played in the Caribbean a few months ago coupled with his own performances in both departments, Bangladesh will be full of confidence come Saturday.