Bangladesh are rapidly rising on the ascendancy curve. The Tigers, with a fine blend of youth and experience in their ranks, are giving the best in the business a run for their money. The latest, and dominant, series win over South Africa comes as an assurance that the wins over Pakistan and India were no flukes.
The hosts have outplayed visiting teams in all departments and by doing so have won four series on the trot. Bangladesh commenced their dominating run during the 2015 World Cup where they knocked out England and came close to upsetting semi-finalists India and runners-up New Zealand.
While the team has been blessed to have the likes of Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib-al-Hasan and Tamim Iqbal, the younger crop has injected a lot of positivity and self-belief in the unit. From one-match wonders to series winners, Bangladesh have come a long way now.
The team has played as the fourth best to India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the sub-continent. Even after upsetting them on a rare occasion, the assuring punch came only after series wins against India and Pakistan in the last 12 months.
While Pakistan were whitewashed 3-0 in the ODIs, a ‘full strength’ India could not avert the 1-2 series defeat.
South Africa frontier
Two series wins over Asian giants under their belt, Bangladesh were raring to go against the Proteas. Home advantage and momentum on their side, the Mashrafe Mortaza-led unit scripted a historic 2-1 win over the touring South Africa.
The series didn’t commence as they would have liked, but the last two matches were exhibition of sheer dominance. After losing the opener by eight wickets, the hosts turned a corner by sealing the remaining two by seven and nine wickets respectively.
Mortaza and Co fought the Proteas, rain and D/L to not only pocket the series but confirm their participation for the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. Bangladesh’s confirmation means either Pakistan or West Indies will miss the tournament in England.
Bangladesh’s recent results have raised the level of expectations of fans and critics from the team, let’s stick to the ODI team for now. While there’s some work to be done in the longer format, the team wears a finished look in the ODIs.
They have just enough firepower in their seam attack, craft in their spinners and class in their batters to outclass any opposition on their day. If Mustafizur Rahman blew India away, it was Soumya Sarkar who put his hand up during the South Africa ODIs. The experienced hands, quietly, are doing the job with consistency and putting up crucial contributions.
But real test lies ahead. What remains to be seen is how Bangladesh perform away from home comfort and conditions.