Bangladesh’s chances of making it to the Super 12 stage are dependent on putting on a comprehensive performance against Papua New Guinea (PNG) at the Oman Cricket Academy Ground on Thursday, after losing to Scotland in their opening encounter.
Bangladesh had returned from their stunning defeat to overcome Oman, but they had battled, and a strong win over PNG will not only keep their prospects for a place in the next round alive but will also restore pride in the team that had previously beaten Australia in T20 cricket.
Bangladesh is ranked third on the four-team standings with two points, trailing Oman in terms of run rate. They will be eliminated from the tournament if they lose. Even if they win on Thursday, they’ll keep a watch on the net run rate in case a situation arises with three teams tied for fourth place.
PNG, on the other hand, is drawing motivation from Scotland, as well as the fight they displayed against the same opponents in the previous game. They come back from a 35/5 deficit two days ago to be on the verge of catching 166.
The World Cup debutants are still mathematically in the running. However, their priority is getting their first win at a World Cup and against a strong T20 side rather than going for a risky net run rate boost.
“It will be history in the making to win at least a game in the World Cup,” said Charles Amini. “So that would be the first thing. Whatever happens after that is not in our control. We’ll try to do our best. If there’s an opportunity in us qualifying for the next stage with the net run rate, we’ll obviously try to work towards that.”
Bangladesh has shown promise in patches but is yet to produce a comprehensive batting effort. Last game, they made a change at the top, but the openers have yet to gel and maximise the Powerplay. Shakib Al Hasan’s performance in the middle order is encouraging, but they might use more hitting in the end. While they may not make any alterations to their starting XI, the batting order may be shuffled.
This year, PNG has had a streak of losses, and its top order has shown a proclivity for collapsing. If they are to contend against Bangladesh, their batsmen will need to regain their touch and play with more game awareness.
(With IANS inputs)