Prolific Pace Unit:
As Bangladesh captain, Nigar Sultana, said in the pre-tournament captain’s press conference, “Everyone knows we have a good pace unit, and we want to make the most of our strengths.” The duo of Jahanara Alam and Ritu Moni has been exceptional for the team in the T20Is. They have also added right-hand pacer Sobhana Mostary to the squad. Left-arm pacers are a rare commodity in the women’s game, but Bangladesh have young Fariha Trisna amongst their ranks too.
Along with the pace unit, Bangladesh also have a prolific all-rounder in Rumana Ahmed. She played a crucial role in their Asia Cup Final victory over India in 2018 and the World Cup Qualifiers against Pakistan. She is Bangladesh’s highest run-scorer (893) and the highest wicket-taker (45) of the ODI format. Such is the importance of this player that captain Sultana has rated Ahmed as one of the most important players from her squad.
Also Read: Nigar Sultana: This World Cup is a huge opportunity for us
Weaker Batting Unit:
Compared to the pace unit, Bangladesh’s batting unit is relatively weaker. If we look at their performances in the ICC tournaments, they are prone to collapses in the T20 format. In recent times, their batting unit has been hot and cold in ODIs. Their heroic chase of 201 against Pakistan was followed by a collapse against an emerging side like Thailand. The side is heavily dependent on Ahmed, Fargana Haque, and Salma Khatun. In this tournament, where they have to face higher-ranked sides, the weaker batting unit might pose some issues.
Sultana was handed the captaincy of the team in all formats just ahead of the Qualifiers in Zimbabwe. At 24, she is also the youngest captain in the tournament. Since her captaincy debut in November 2021, she has led her side in only six international fixtures across formats. This lack of leadership experience can potentially lead to panic in clutch situations.
Nothing to lose:
This is Bangladesh’s first-ever appearance at the ODI World Cup. As Sultana mentioned in the press conference, the team wants to enjoy their first outing at this tournament. While talking to Women’s CricZone, Sultana said. “We didn’t get to play against the higher-ranked teams. With this World Cup and ODI Championship, we will get the opportunity to play against them. We are looking at this tournament as a stepping stone.”
Plan for the Future:
With their appearance at this World Cup, Bangladesh have secured a place in the next cycle of the ODI Championship. In the World Cup, they will face sides like Australia, England, and India. They have not played against these sides outside of the ICC tournaments, and now they will get the opportunity to plan for the next cycle of the ODI Championship. For a side that has played only 11 ODIs since the previous World Cup in 2017, this tournament is a massive opportunity to get the much-needed experience under their belt.
Conditions in New Zealand:
Even though Bangladesh were amongst the first teams to arrive in New Zealand, this is their first tour of the nation. The conditions in the host nation are completely new and totally different from what they are used to back home. Top-ranked teams like Australia, England, and India have played in these conditions before. Unfamiliarity with these conditions might be the most challenging factor for Bangladesh.
Lack of Recent Match Experience:
Unlike most of the teams participating in the competition, Bangladesh have not played any ODI cricket since the World Cup Qualifier in November 2021. Bangladesh traditionally have not played a lot of ODI matches over the past decade. Ahmed, one of the most experienced players, has only played 42 ODIs since her debut in 2011. They recently played the Commonwealth Games Qualifiers T20I tournament in Malaysia, but the format change will pose a bigger challenge to them. More experienced teams would like to exploit the lack of match experience of the team.
Also Read: I will always play for my team and for my nation: Jahanara Alam
Bangladesh Squad: Nigar Sultana (c), Salma Khatun, Rumana Ahmed, Fargana Hoque, Jahanara Alam, Shamima Sultana, Fahima Khatun, Ritu Moni, Murshida Khatun, Nahida Akter, Sharmin Akhter, Lata Mondal, Sobhana Mostary, Fariha Trisna, Suraiya Azmin
Travelling Reserves: Nuzhat Tasnia, Sanjida Akter