Bangladesh are looking to shake their tag as underachievers when they begin their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup campaign in Australia. Despite being ever-presents at the tournament since its first staging in 2007, the Tigers have won just seven of their 33 matches. A recent tri-series with Pakistan and New Zealand failed to produce a single victory and two changes have been made to the squad off the back of those four matches.
The competition will only get fiercer when they venture down under, with India, Pakistan and South Africa for company in Group 2, in conditions that could not be any more different to what they are accustomed to at home. So how will Bangladesh fare at the World Cup – will they come unstuck again or can they make it a World Cup to remember?
Bangladesh have an identical record from each of the last three World Cups – having won just two matches, none of which have come at the Super 12 stage. Unlike each of the three previous tournaments, however, Bangladesh will not be starting their campaign at the first-round stage. The opening fixture for Bangladesh is against the runner-up of Group A – Netherlands. A victory there would instill confidence ahead of a crucial match up with South Africa, who are the lowest-ranked side among the other automatic qualifiers in Group 2.
That has to be a game that the squad look to target and a win in Sydney would leave them in a fantastic position ahead of a match-up with the Group B winners in Brisbane. Wins will be hard to come by thereafter, with fixtures against previous winners India and Pakistan. So the realistic ambition for Bangladesh has to be improving on that record of two wins prior to those final two matches.
T20 World Cup History
Arguably Bangladesh’s best T20 World Cup moment came in their very first fixture. Back in 2007 against a highly-fancied West Indies side which included the likes of Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ravi Rampaul, Bangladesh chased down the Windies’ total of 164 with ease, wrapping up victory with 12 balls to spare. Shakib Al Hasan took four wickets that day and contributed with the bat too.
It took another seven years for Bangladesh to taste success again in the competition, as they went winless through each of the 2009, 2010 and 2012 World Cups. The unwanted streak ended on home soil in 2014 with victories over Afghanistan and Nepal but a defeat against Hong Kong in their final group fixture seemed to deflate the team ahead of Super 10 stage, where they lost all four fixtures.
They progressed as group stage winners once again in 2016 but lost all four of their Super 10 stage matches for the second tournament running. Their 2021 campaign then got off to the worst possible start with a defeat to Scotland in Oman. They recovered from there to progress to the Super 12s as group runners-up but struggled thereafter, with a three-run defeat against the West Indies the closest they came to a win over a Full Member nation.
Preparations began in earnest in July with a pair of three-match series, the first of which came against the Windies. That ended in a 2-0 series defeat after the first contest was abandoned due to rain; Afif Hossain was the shining light of the series, with scores of 51 and 34 from his two innings.
Zimbabwe were next and the Chevrons pulled off a surprise victory in the opening fixture in Harare as Bangladesh finished 17 runs short chasing 205. It seemed as if normality had been restored with a comfortable seven-wicket victory in the second contest, but Zimbabwe once again coasted home in the final T20 and returned home with a 2-1 series win.
A different competition and location failed to yield a change in results, with three straight defeats in the Asia Cup contested in the UAE. The side did then come out on top in a two-match series with the Asia Cup hosts but were firmly third best in their tri-series with Pakistan and New Zealand. Since the last World Cup, they have won four of their 18 T20 matches.
Shakib provides a wealth of experience and quality in the middle order. He and Litton Das have proven themselves to be the side’s most consistent batters since the last World Cup. There is no settled opening partnership, however, with four different combinations used during the tri-series in New Zealand. Soumya Sarkar was a late addition to the squad after impressing in that series and could be one to watch for his aggressive intent at the top of the order.
Mahedi Hasan is the highest-ranked Bangladesh bowler according to the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s T20I Bowling Rankings but there is no place for him among the stable of spin bowlers. In his place, expect Nasum Ahmed and Shakib to try and spin their team to victory – an envious task on flat tracks in Australia.
That means that greater responsibility will fall on the shoulders of left-arm quick Shoriful Islam, who at the age of just 21 has the chance to make himself a hero after finishing as the joint-highest wicket-taker in Bangladesh’s series in the UAE.
Dharmasena reaches singles final
Ranjan Dharmasena booked a berth in the singles final against Korea’s Sung Bong Han as he beat Sagg-Ho OH 6-1, 6-2 in his semi-final in the Sri Lanka Open International Wheelchair Tennis Tournament at Sri Lanka Tennis Association courts on Tuesday.
Sung Bong Han of Korea prevented an all-hosts final as he beat Gamini Dissanayake 6-1, 6-2 in the other semi-final.
New champions add spice to tennis singles events
By A Special Sports Correspondent
Tennis star Sharmal Dissanayake (26) made a comeback to the racquet game in Sri Lanka when he won the Men’s Singles event at the First Capital SSC Open Championships worked off in Colombo recently.
The annual SSC Open tournament gave a great start to the tennis scene in the island for the New Year. It was also a new start for champion player Dissanayake after being away from playing on Sri Lankan courts at local tournaments for a while. He overcame stiff resistance from Chaturya Nilaweera in the finals, which went for four sets. Dissanayake won 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 and 7-6 in the pulsating final which was scheduled to go for five sets if required. This is the first time five-set tennis was introduced at a local tournament in the island.
Dissanayake has played at peak condition in past tournaments. Fitness was not a cause for Dissanayake at this tournament, but he can reach top playing condition as the months roll away this season. The talk doing the rounds in the tennis circles is that Dissanayake wants to raise his game and fitness and make himself available for the country at overseas assignments too. Meanwhile, Nilaweera, an up-and-coming player with much promise, had to sweat his way into the final with a tough semi-final fixture against Kiran Vairawanathan. It was good to see seasoned players like Guyanga Weerasekare contesting the SSC Open Men’s event. The men’s open tennis event overall in the country has just got the needed boost with the competition that’s raised by so many talented players entering and wanting a share of the pie.
Dissanayake won the Arjun Fernando Challenge Trophy for his efforts at the tournament which was witnessed by an appreciative crowd.
Schoolgirl Sajida Razick made a giant kill in the women’s open singles by beating seasoned player Neyara Weerawansa (6-3, 6-4). Despite taking the first set with her power play Razick saw the experienced Weerawansa breathing down her back in a well-contested second set. Both players made their share of unforced errors, but that didn’t take the punch away from the game Razick looked so confident throughout the game and brilliantly negotiated Weerawansa’s spirited late rally during the second set before winning her first major title in senior tennis. Razick overcame Vishmi Serasinghe in the semis while Weerawansa got the better of Dinara de Silva. Razick won the Sriya Munasinghe Challenge Trophy for her efforts.
Razick has raised her game tremendously and plays some powerful shots and also uses the full court. It would have been interesting to see how she would have fared against Anjalika Kurera had the latter taken part in this tournament. Incidentally, Kurera was not available for the SSC Open this season because she was busy preparing for a vital examination.
The tournament not only attracted its title sponsor in First Capital, but also saw Perera & Sons and Dimo coming in as co-sponsors. It’s one of the most looked forward-to events in the local tennis events calendar; having recorded its start in the 1980s. The SSC Open also serves as a category 1 ranking tournament.
The tournament was organized by the SSC Tennis Home Committee and held under the auspices of the Sri Lanka Tennis Association.
Amameth scores back-to-back centuries
Under 19 Cricket
by Reemus Fernando
Kavindu Amameth scored back-to-back centuries and put on a partnership over 200 runs for the second time in the match as Mahanama College earned major honours against De Mazenod in the Under 19 Traditional cricket encounter which ended in a draw at Kandana on Tuesday.
Amameth followed up his first innings score with an identical knock. In the first essay, he conceded 173 balls for his knock. But in his second he consumed only 101 balls as he cracked 11 fours and seven sixes to boost the score. He also put on a first-wicket stand of 209 runs with Anjala Bandara as Mahanama posted 323 for three wickets at close on a pitch where the home team could muster only 150.
It is also the first time this season that a batsman scored back-to-back centuries in a match.
At Ananda Mawatha, Mahinda College restricted the home team to 159 runs as Dhanuja Induwara picked up five wickets for the visitors to dominate day one of the traditional encounter.
Mahanama take major honours
363 all out in 92.1 overs (Kavindu Amameth 126, Inuka Karannagoda 75, Rashmika Perera 52, Chamika Heenatigala 24, Eshan Withanage 24; Kavindu Kaushalya 4/97, Thushan Udayanga 3/64, Sithum Fernando 3/71) and 323 for 3 in 54 overs (Kavindu Amameth 126, Anjala Bandara 84, Koojana Perera 55, Inuka Karannagoda 52n.o.; Thushan Udayanga 2/56)
2 for 1 overnight 150 all out in 49.0 overs (Neshan Dias 65, Shevan Menusha 25, Uvindu Perera 20, Thareen Perera 20; Chamika Heenatigala 4/12, Inuka Karannagoda 2/26, Rashmika Perera 2/29)
Mahinda dominate day one at Ananda Mawatha
159 all out in 53.1 overs (Viduna Wijebandara 27, Iruth Gimshan 25, Ayesh Shahimal 42; Dhanuja Induwara 5/33, Tharusha Dilshan 2/37, Arosha Udayandga 2/18)
142 for 5 in 44 overs (Hareen Achintha 36, Hiruna Gallage 38n.o., Tharusha Dilshan 21n.o.; Ashinsa Deshan Nainayaka 4/40)
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