Bangladesh will clash with a confident England side in Abu Dhabi, which is surprisingly the first T20 match between the two sides since the inception of T20 cricket.
England are coming back on the back of a comfortable win against the West Indies bowling them out for 55 in Dubai, whereas Bangladesh suffered a denting loss against Sri Lanka in spite of having posted 172 in Sharjah.
Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah must be under the scanner after he decided to bowl Atif Hossain and himself against Sri Lankan left-handers Charith Asalanka and Bhanuka Rajapaksa - which proved to be costly in the end and as their three overs went for 36 runs. Those strikes proved to be costly and tilted the match in the Islanders’ favour as at one stage, Sri Lanka were struggling at 79/4 in 10 overs and both the left-handers put on a partnership of 86 in just nine overs to steal victory.
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Bangladesh had done very well coming in to the World Cup - beating New Zealand and Australia and also made it through the qualifiers in Oman to the Super 12. They will be banking on Shakib Al Hasan, their most experienced player, to score some runs coming at number three to give impetus to their innings and along with Mushfiqur Rahim, put on a decent total if they bat first. They have in Mehdi Hasan a terrific off spinner, who is touted as their future captain and along with the other spinners, to contain the attacking English batsmen.
England looked very good with the ball with both their spinners, Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, picking six wickets between them. Their batsmen Jos Buttler, Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Liam Livingstone will be looking to score some runs and get in to form before playing the bigger teams in Australia and South Africa - which is the Group of Death and any team is capable of beating the other team on their day.
It will be a test of character for Bangladesh against the number one T20 team in the world. If Bangladesh lose this one too, they will have to do a lot of catching up in their next three games against South Africa, Australia and West Indies to have any chances of making it to last four.
- Cricket enthusiast Anis Sajan is the Vice-chairman of Danube Group