5 reasons why Bangladesh can compete better in the T20I series against South Africa

2nd Momentum ODI: South Africa v Bangladesh
The leadership of Shakib Al Hasan could give Bangladesh an edge
Raghav Ravichandran

Bangladesh have been an improved side in the past few years. They are no longer pushovers, beating Sri Lanka in a test match recently. Not to forget their famous win against England in the ICC Cricket World Cup, 2015 at Adelaide which helped them reach the quarter finals.

They have been bullies at home, beating top notch sides likes South Africa, England convincingly. So when they toured South Africa it was expected that they would compete against the hosts.

A combination of poor captaincy decisions, quality of the opposition and lack of exposure for the Bangladesh players in these conditions have led to Bangladesh looking really weak. South Africa have trounced them in the test series and ODI series.

They lost the tests by a margin of 333 runs and an innings and 254 runs. The margin of defeat didn’t improve in ODIs, where they were outclassed completely by the hosts.

Amidst the gloom there were certain positives which the Bangla tigers can carry forward into the T20I series which could make the series more competitive:

A new leader

Bangladesh will have a seasoned T20 player to lead their T20I team in the form of Shakib- Al-Hasan. This surely would boost the sagging morale of the team. Shakib is among the best all-rounders in world cricket currently.

His experience in leagues - the IPL, BPL and CPL would hold him in good stead when he leads the Bangla Tigers. It is this experience coupled with his batting and bowling skills which make him a big asset for Bangladesh to have playing against the Proteas.

And as a leader, he should bring in his fresh set of idea and strategies. It would be a tough task to motivate this team as primarily barring few key players who are injured the T20I squad features players who have played in the ODI series.

Rather than lamenting on the performances in the ODI series, this team under Shakib should start afresh and look to put their best foot forward. And T20 cricket is very unpredictable, few good performances and this Bangladesh team can go to beat the hosts, and not only compete better.

Absence of key players gives opportunities for other players to shine

1st Momentum ODI: South Africa v Bangladesh
Mahmudullah will have the opportunity to shine

Injuries to key players is never a good sign for any team. Especially if it’s the likes of Tamim Iqbal and Mustafizur Rahman, who have played such a pivotal role in Bangladesh’s rise in the ODI and T20 game over the past few years.

Rather than lamenting the absence of their key players, Bangladesh should take this as a positive challenge. As this gives the likes of Monimul Haque and Mohammed Saifuddin a longer run to prove their worth as T20 players.

The responsibility on the likes of Sabbir Rehman, Mahmudullah and Shakib increases much more now. As senior players along with Mushiqur Rahim they would need to stand up and put up competitive performances.

If these players can play up to their potential, this series which seems to be heavily stacked against the Bangladesh team, can become a closely fought one. It’s all in how these players take their chance and deliver for their side.

Shortest format of the game is Bangladesh's best

2nd Momentum ODI: South Africa v Bangladesh

If Bangladesh stand a chance at upsetting the hosts, it would be in the T20 format. The shortest form of the game is the most unpredictable form of the game. It would be too early to write-off Bangladesh despite their test and ODI series performances.

Not to forget South Africa themselves have been going through a rough patch in T20Os recently losing 1-2 to England. Bangladesh need to use this in their favor when they take on the hosts in the T20I series.

A team of many inexperienced faces gives Bangladesh their best opportunity at proving to their critics that they are not just good in home conditions but they can also compete overseas and win game overseas.

With conditions suiting batsmen generally in the T20 format , can Bangladesh utilise the pitch conditions to their favor? Musfiqur impressed in the first ODI but there was not much fight shown by the others. The batsmen should go all-out and express themselves in the T20I series.

South Africa have put faith in some relatively new faces who may not be as threatening as the bowlers who were part of the test and ODI series. This should give the Bangladesh batsmen some relief, which hopefully can result in better batting performances in the T20I series.

A relatively weak Proteas bowling attack

South Africa v Sri Lanka: Quarter Final - 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup
Morne Morkel (C) will be rested for the series

Keeping in mind their upcoming commitments, South Africa have rested their key bowlers - Morne Morkel, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj and Imran Tahir for the T20I series against Bangladesh.

This gives the likes of Aaron Phangiso, Dane Paterson, Andile Phehluwkayo and Shamsi an opportunity to lead the bowling attack in the T20 series. But compared to what Bangladesh faced in the tests and ODIs, this attack is relatively easier for them to handle.

On conditions which would likely suit the batsmen, this lack of experience should be made use of by the Bangladesh batsmen. They have a good opportunity to put this relatively weaker, inexperienced South African bowling attack under pressure.

The Bangladesh batting lineup comprises players who can make use of this weakness in the Proteas team. It’s all a question of application and determination which if the batsmen can display in decent measure, then they can go and score big runs against South Africa.

Their cricket is on the upswing

2nd Momentum ODI: South Africa v Bangladesh
Bangladesh have been enjoying somewhat of a return to form

Not many people would have felt that Bangladesh could pose a threat to South Africa in conditions that are not exactly suitable to them . But the Bangladesh team in the past few years has shown immense improvement across all formats at home and when they play overseas.

It was indeed sad and disappointing to see how one-sided the tests and ODI series were. Right from the decision to bowl in the test series, the momentum slipped out of the Bangladesh team. That resulted in humiliation in the test series, continued in the ODI series too.

With their improvement in their game off-late where they are competing better against all oppositions, the abject nature in which they have succumbed to South Africa in this tour so far will hurt the Bangladesh team management, players and fans.

Their pride would have been hurt for sure. Their cricket is on the up-swing and they could have performed better in this tour. Given the quality of the opposition and unfamiliar conditions it was expected that they would find it hard, but not many would have predicted this poor a showing from the Bangladesh team.

They are a better side than what we have seen in this tour so far. So this could be a very good motivating factor for the Tigers to go out and give it their all against South Africa in the T20I series which would make it more competitive than the test and ODI series.

Bangladesh will be looking at showing to the world that they can compete on foreign soil and justify their improvement across all formats of the game. The requirement is to put up a good fight, show application and play the situation and not the opposition.

Edited by Anuradha Santhanam


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