The moment is upon us, the much-awaited tournament’s first clash, between host England and the unpredictable Bangladesh who have replaced West Indies in ICC Champions Trophy 2017. Bangladeshis are playing in the tournament after a long gap of 11 years. Their first and foremost aim will be to get past the group stages and try to reach the semi-finals of the tournament. But, for that, they have to outclass the favourites of the tournament, England.
Bangladesh will have to play every game as a knockout as they face England, Australia, and New Zealand. But in order to keep their hopes alive, they have to beat England first. Bangladesh will be under pressure having lost to India by a gigantic margin of 240 runs in the warm up match. But, the Bangladeshis are the surprise elements of the tournament, they always have, they stunned the cricketing world by knocking out India in ICC World Cup 2007. They have every bit of chance of doing that again.
Bangladeshis are the surprise element of this tournament, though, it is not sure that they will be able to fill the void of ‘entertainers’ West Indies.
On paper, England seems to be dominating Bangladesh by a mile. They have played 19 ODIs against one another with Bangladesh managing to win only 4 from the lot. Although in the past two years, it has been a 50-50 affair. England would not be taking this game lightly as Bangladesh could pull off an upset in the very first match of ICC Champions Trophy 2017.
Players who can turn it around for Bangladesh:
The Bangladesh opener is in fine form in recent years. He has an average of over 50 as far as the record of past 2 years is concerned. He hit a century in the warm-up game against Pakistan. A lot depends on his form if Bangladesh are to make an impact in this tournament.
Bangladesh pace battery
Bangladesh have a lethal bowling attack. Mustafizur Rahman’s form is crucial as he did get many chances playing in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017. He can create problems for batsmen, especially in the death overs when they look to hit big hits. He will be supported by Taskin Ahmed who is likely to get a nod ahead of Rubel Hossain. Skipper Mashrafe Mortaza can pose problems for batsmen with his swing which can be lethal in powerplay overs.
Shakib Al Hasan: The No.1 all-rounder
Shakib Al Hasan is the top ranked ODI all-rounder. He is capable of doing the damage with both bat and ball. He was lethal in the recent England’s tour of Bangladesh creating problems for the English batsmen. Also, he is one of the most experienced batsman in the side and can do it. When it comes to batting department, statistics work in his favour. He has the best average (34.64) in ODIs among batsmen who have scored 1,000 or more runs for Bangladesh.
The X-factor: Mehedi Hasan
The 19-year-old off-spinner Mehedi Hasan haunted English batsmen when they came to tour Bangladesh in 2016. His form will be vital in the tournament. He can contribute down the order with the bat as well. Though it is yet to be determined whether English conditions suit him or not.
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Sabbir Rahman, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim(wk), Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain Saikat, Mashrafe Mortaza(c), Mehedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Imrul Kayes, Sunzamul Islam, Shafiul Islam, Rubel Hossain
England: Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan(c), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler(wk), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett, Mark Wood, David Willey, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings
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