Comfortably placed Bangladesh look to avoid slip-ups

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Even as the Asian side would be favourites to qualify from Group B, a one-off poor match might put them in a tricky position
PREVIEW - ICC T20 WORLD CUP 2021

Comfortably placed Bangladesh look to avoid slip-ups

by Bertus de Jong • Last updated on

Shakib Al Hasan's recent run of low scores with the bat would be a cause of concern for Bangladesh © Getty

Of all the sides consigned to the qualifying "First Round" of the T20 World Cup, Bangladesh arguably have the most reason to feel hard done by. Ranked outside the top eight at the cut-off almost three years ago, recent success in the format has seen them rise to sixth. Despite the tournament being re-seeded Mahmudullah Riyad's side were not granted an automatic berth in the main draw. That said, had the tournament gone ahead as scheduled, they would have faced the daunting prospect of playing the First Round in Australian conditions without the iconic Shakib al Hasan. Against that hypothetical, a trip to the Middle East looks eminently preferable, though they might have preferred to do their qualifying on the low slow decks of the UAE rather than the comparatively fresh and relatively batting-friendly wickets at Muscat. Nonetheless, Bangladesh find themselves in what is generally agreed to be the marginally easier of the two groups, and despite Oman's home advantage, Scotland's momentum and Papua New Guinea's irrepressible penchant for upsets, they have reason to be comparatively confident.

The expansion of the main draw to 12 teams means there's an extra berth on offer in each of the First Round groups, but the margin for error remains slim as even a single loss could leave a team dependent on neutral results and net run rate to get them through. Bangladesh will not be unfamiliar with such considerations, having just scraped past Nepal on net run rate in 2014 after losing to Hong Kong, and while two years later an 8-run win over the Dutch proved enough, things might have turned out very differently had the rain chosen different days to fall.

Based on experience, Bangladesh will thus know how slim the margins can be in the quickfire…
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