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.
Hasaranga suspended for two T20Is for outburst against umpire
Sri Lanka’s T20I captain Waniidu Hasaranga has been suspended for two matches by the ICC following his run-in with umpire Lyndon Hannibal in the third T20I against Afghanistan on February 21. Hasaranga was also fined 50% of his match fees and will miss Sri Lanka’s first two T20Is against Bangladesh next month.
The incident had occurred after umpire Hannibal did not rule a high full-toss from Wafadar Momand to Kamindu Mendis as a no-ball. Kamindu had shuffled down the pitch, but the delivery would have likely arrived higher than his waist had he been standing upright at the popping crease. This would constitute a no-ball as per the ICC’s playing conditions.
“That kind of thing shouldn’t happen in an international match,” Hasaranga had said. “If it had been close [to waist height], that’s not a problem. But a ball that’s going so high… it would have hit the batsman’s head if it had gone a little higher. If you can’t see that, that umpire isn’t suited for international cricket. It would be much better if he did another job.”
Sri Lanka needed 11 runs off the last three balls when this occurred and eventually lost the match by three runs to finish the series 2-1.
“Hasaranga was found guilty of breaching article 2.13 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to ‘Personal abuse of a Player, Player Support Personnel, Umpire or Match Referee during an International Match’,” the ICC said in a statement. “Hasaranga’s accumulation of five demerit points (he got three for this infraction) results in a conversion to two suspension points. This means he will either get a ban for one Test match or two ODIs or T20Is, whichever comes first, for the player or player support personnel.”
Afghanistan batter Rahamanullah Gurbaz was also fined 15% of his match fee and given one demerit point for “disobeying an umpire’s instruction during an international match.” Gurbaz’s offence was “altering the grip of his bat on the field despite repeated warnings against doing so,” the ICC said. Gurbaz’s demerit-points tally now stands at two.
Kamindu Mendis needs to be persevered with
by Rex Clementine
A decade or so ago, Richmond College, Galle was winning all the silverware in school cricket. They played by a different set of rules. Often scoring 1000 runs and taking 100 wickets in the season had been seen as hallmark of a good player. But Richmond didn’t care for the personal milestones. They played to win. There were bold declarations, attacking field settings, free scoring batsmen and ambidextrous bowlers. Richmond thought out of the box.
Many of their players graduated to the Sri Lankan side after school cricket. Some of them have gone onto become household names of the game. Kamindu Mendis could go onto become the next big name in cricket from Richmond.
With Sri Lanka having taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three match T-20 series against Afghanistan at Dambulla, Kamindu Mendis was given a break in the dead rubber. He proved his mettle with an unbeaten 65 off 39 balls and nearly pulled off a win. It was his first game for Sri Lanka in three years.
For a 25-year-old on a comeback trial, the pressure didn’t take to Kamindu. He rotated the strike well and waited for the loose balls. His judgements were pretty good something that you can not tell about many young players these days.
One problem facing Sri Lankan cricket is that in white ball cricket among the top seven players there are not many bowling options. If you take successful Sri Lankan teams, among the top seven there were at least three bowling options. These were genuine batsmen who could bowl and that helped the selectors to balance the side.
Kamindu Mendis solves this problem for the current side. He is ambidextrous and can bowl finger spin from both hands and the left-arm spin is quite impressive. It’s a pity that he doesn’t bowl much these days in domestic cricket.
We all marvel that Sanath Jayasuriya took more ODI wickets than Shane Warne. Sanath’s bowling was largely neglected too until a certain Duleep Mendis called him to a side and told him in no uncertain terms that he needed to work on his bowling. Gradually Sanath improved his bowling. Maybe it’s time for Sanath to borrow a leaf out of Duleep’s book and give Kamindu a piece of his mind.
More than skill what impresses you about Kamindu is his temperament. He seem to have got a good head above his shoulders and these kind of players are rare these days in our backyard. Kamindu is a former Sri Lanka under-19 captain and authorities should start grooming him for bigger things.
Kamindu did get a chance in the Test side when the Aussies were in town in 2022. He made a polished 61 in the only innings Sri Lanka batted and never got to play Test cricket again. Let’s hope he doesn’t suffer the same fate in white ball cricket.
A solid batsman, someone who gives you plenty of bowling options and a secure fielder, you can not ask for more than that in white ball cricket. Kamindu has covers all the bases and needs to become a permanent fixture in the T-20 format. With Sri Lanka’s openers in ODI and T-20 cricket being right-handed, a left-handed option at number three isn’t a bad idea.
Dialog powers historic Royal – Thomian for 19th time
Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, has extended corporate backing for the 19th year as official sponsor of the country’s blue ribbon cricket encounter, the 2024 ‘Battle of the Blues’ between Royal College, Colombo, and S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia—played for the prestigious Rt. Hon. D. S. Senanayake Memorial Shield on March 7, 8 and 9 at the SSC Grounds, Colombo. The limited-over ‘Mustang’s Trophy’ match will be on March 16, also at the same venue.
The 145th cricket encounter will be aired LIVE on Dialog Television – ThePapare TV HD (Channel Number 126), live-streamed on ThePapare.com and the Dialog ViU App.
Further, Dialog initiated the ‘Play for a Cause’ charity initiative with a mission to uplift school cricket across Sri Lanka. Through a generous pledge of Rs. 1,000 for every run scored and Rs. 10,000 for every wicket taken, last year’s encounter raised a substantial donation of Rs. 1,128,000. The proceedings were distributed in consultation with the Principal of Royal College and the Warden of S. Thomas’ College. This commendable effort helped support and empower four deserving schools in the country.
In this year’s encounter, the boys from Mt. Lavinia will be led by Mahith Perera, while the lads from Reid Avenue will play under the captaincy of Sineth Jayawardena, the U-19 Sri Lanka skipper.
The ‘Royal-Thomian’ series spans an impressive 144 years, making it the second longest uninterrupted cricket series in the world, behind the annual encounter between St. Peters College, Adelaide, and Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, Australia, which began just a year earlier. This esteemed tradition kicked off in 1880 with a match at Galle Face, where the Taj Samudra Hotel is presently located. Both teams are said to have rowed boats over the Beira Lake to compete in the match. This storied rivalry predates even the renowned Ashes Series between Australia and England, underscoring its significance in the world of cricket.
The historic rivalry has been a testament to the enduring spirit of sportsmanship and camaraderie. The annual cricket match has been a symbol of excellence and mutual respect between the two institutions for over a century. The playing fields of the ‘Roy-Tho’ have the distinction of birthing cricketers who later became eminent heads of state, with S. Thomas’ producing the father of the nation, the late Rt. Hon. D. S. Senanayake MP whom the Shield is named after—and his son, the late Hon. Dudley Senanayake MP). Both were Prime Ministers of post-independent Ceylon. Meanwhile, Royal College produced the late Rt. Hon. (General) Sir John Kotelawala MP, also Prime Minister, and Sri Lanka’s first Executive President, the late J. R. Jayewardene.
The current tally between the two schools has Royal leading with 36 wins to S. Thomas’ 35, with the highly-debated match in 1885— where Royal College was all out for nine runs and refused to play on the second day—considered a win by S. Thomas’ and a draw by Royal (as described in the respective souvenir books of the two schools). In the 144th Battle of the Blues, under Dasis Manchanayake, Royal recorded a comprehensive 181-run win to register their first victory since 2016. The shield is presently displayed like a crown jewel amidst the silverware in the Royal College trophy cabinet.
Played in the highest tradition of excellence, the two schools have formed a bond of mutual respect, camaraderie, sportsmanship, and friendly adversaries on and off the field, which has stood for almost one-and-a-half centuries. As remarked by a yesteryear Principal of Royal College: “There is no Royal without S. Thomas’ and no S. Thomas’ without Royal.”
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