They support their cricket with a raging zeal in this country. Much of the passion for the ICC World Twenty20 locally would have drained out if Bangladesh had not qualified for the Super 10. There will have been relief that the home country did, however close-run it may have been in the end.
Bangladesh squeezed past Nepal only on net run-rate, having gone down to Hong Kong in its final group game. “Shameful” and “humiliating”, one newspaper here called the loss, which must rank alongside some of the biggest upsets in the game.
It came via an inexplicable collapse, from 85 for three to 108 all out in the space of six overs. “This is a very bad feeling,” the captain Mushfiqur Rahim lamented afterwards. Coming close on the heels of the defeat to Afghanistan in the Asia Cup, Bangladesh’s form — for a Test-playing nation — is a worry.
Full house expected
So while there is delight at having secured a berth alongside the top teams, there is also apprehension and the weight of extraordinary expectation. A full house may be expected at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium on Tuesday when the host country faces West Indies in its first Super 10 game.
“Yes, we are going into the match with a poor defeat to Hong Kong, but in the past too we have come out of miserable times and done well,” Mushfiqur said. “In this group, we don’t have anything to lose. So every time other teams play us they will be under pressure and not us.”
Mushfiqur admitted he had mixed memories of playing West Indies. There was the win from the 2007 World T20, and the dire loss in the 2011 World Cup, after which the West Indies team bus was stoned in Dhaka. “We might not have someone like Gayle or Virat but we have our small combinations and that has worked for us. If we give our 200 per cent we can show the world that our cricket is right up there,” he said.
A few changes may be expected. Medium-pacer Rubel Hossain is out of the tournament with an injury, while Mashrafe Mortaza and Sohag Gazi could return. Bangladesh will rely on Shakib Al Hasan and Abdur Razzaq, its primary spinners, to tie the opponent down.
West Indies, meanwhile, cannot afford to lose after its defeat to India. Pakistan and Australia also lurk in Group 2 and progress will be arduous. Ravi Rampaul was being considered, the West Indies coach Ottis Gibson revealed, after witnessing Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s performance on Sunday.
“Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Sunil Narine, Dwayne Bravo and Darren Sammy — they all play a lot of IPL cricket and the Indians know them quite well. A lot of the plans they had for them last night seem to come out of the IPL,” he felt.
“Bangladesh will be a different opposition. We know that they will come with spin and we just have to play spin better than we did.”