Upbeat Tigers aim to prey Ireland
Emboldened by their comprehensive victory over West Indies, Bangladesh looks to make a giant stride in their way to the tri-nation series final as they take on hosts Ireland at the Malahide in Dublin on Thursday.
Bangladesh's 88-run defeat to Ireland Wolves in the practice game created a huge uproar back in the country but a different Bangladesh turned up in the match against West Indies in their tri-series opener to quell any uncertainty over their ability.
The Tigers brought up their A game to crush West Indies by eight-wicket, overhauling their 261-9 in an effortless manner. This West Indies side however walloped Ireland by 196 runs in the first game of tri-series, racking up a gigantic 381-3 thanks to a world record opening partnership between Shaip Hope and John Campbell who put on 365-run.
Campbell was ruled out of the game against Bangladesh because of sore back but Shai Hope continued his excellent form hitting 109, following his 170 against Ireland.
But the euphoria of his second consecutive ton was ruined as opener Tamim Iqbal (80), Soumya Sarkar (73) and Sakib al Hasan (61 not out) all struck half-centuries to make it one-way traffic, helping Bangladesh reach 264-2 in 45 overs after restricting West Indies to 261-9.
Tamim and Soumya combined for a record 144-run, highest against West Indies in opening stand to make a solid foundation in the chase before Tamim and Sakib added 52 runs for second wicket to take them close to the victory. Mushfiq made quick-fire unbeaten 32 off 25 balls as Bangladesh reached their target without any serious hiccup.
The manner in which Tigers made a mockery of West Indies bowling, they will be clearly favourite against Ireland. And a victory would help them take a giant stride towards the final.
But Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza guarded against complacency, saying that they need to continue their best cricket.
"Still the tournament is open. We have to play well and play hard you know to get into the final. So, we are looking forward to it," Mashrafe said after winning the match against West Indies. But he was happy to start the tournament with winning note. "Obviously a good start is always important," Mashrafe said.
"I think we have started well after losing the practice match. The boys are looking forward the next matches," he added.
Mashrafe is particularly happy to the way Bangladesh made a comeback halfway through the inning when West Indies looked well poised to make 300 plus total.
The Caribbean side was 205-3 in 41st over but Mashrafe took three quick wickets in his last spell to bring Bangladesh back in the contest. Mohammad Saifuddin and Mustafizur Rahman also complemented his bowling, claiming two apiece as Bangladesh restricted the opponents under a reachable total.
" I think as far as the bowling is concern, we were not good enough before 40th over but after that we started bowling well, we took wickets at regular intervals and didn't allow them put enough runs on the board," he said.
Having said that, Mashrafe also wants a good start from Tamim, Soumya against Ireland too.
"Tamim, Soumya started well for us and made the task easier. Hopefully they will continue it."