There’s very little history between Bangladesh and Scotland, but going by the lead up to this tournament, Scotland will come in buoyed. In the warm-ups, Scotland registered wins in a high-scorer against Namibia and in a low-scorer against Netherlands, while Bangladesh were downed by Sri Lanka and Ireland.
That said, Bangladesh have T20I series wins over Australia and New Zealand, from the last three months, to draw confidence from. Together with their 2-1 win over Zimbabwe in July, they are enjoying their best period as a T20I team, and they will want to translate that into a big T20 World Cup campaign. Scotland, and then PNG and Oman, stand in their way to begin.
The reliable trio of captain Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan – the latter hopped over to Muscat overnight after the IPL final in Dubai – will have a big say in Bangladesh’s progress. But the likes of Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar and Mustafizur Rahman have also been on the international stage long enough to be expected to get them big wins.
Then there’s Mohammad Naim, a developing white-ball opener, while Afif Hossain and Nurul Hasan are the type of big-hitting finishers that this batting line-up has been missing previously. They also have allrounders Mahedi Hasan and Mohammad Saifuddin who are exciting talents.
Bangladesh will face a Scotland side that has had a mixed bag in T20Is of late, with three defeats in their last five T20Is, including a home series loss to Zimbabwe in September, but, given their results in the warm-ups, head coach Shane Burger believes his side is peaking at the right time.
Experienced batters like Richie Berrington, Kyle Coetzer, George Munsey and Calum MacLeod, of course, have crucial roles to play. Alasdair Evans and Safyaan Sharif will head the fast bowling attack, while legspinner Chris Greaves, who took a four-wicket haul against the Netherlands, could surprise Bangladesh given his ability to spin the ball both ways.
Of course, on this big stage, nerves also play a big part. Bangladesh might have more experience in such situations, but Scotland will be determined to show what they’ve got.
Bangladesh: LWLWW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
Players to watch
Mahmudullah will not only dictate terms in the field as the Bangladesh captain, but his batting could make or break big finishes too. He was the only batter to get a half-century in Bangladesh’s T20I series win over Australia and was also their top-scorer against New Zealand.
Scotland will look for quick, early runs from George Munsey whose T20I career strike rate of 153.36 speaks volumes of his big-hitting ability. The left-hand batter with the low grip can clear the infield with ease, both against pace and spin, and could give the likes of Berrington and Coetzer the right platform.
Soumya Sarkar’s form puts him ahead of Mohammad Naim, who hasn’t looked in good touch lately. Playing three seamers in Muscat may be the way to go, which would leave Nasum Ahmed out of the XI. Shoriful Islam’s variety may be preferred over Taskin Ahmed.
Bangladesh (possible): 1 Soumya Sarkar, 2 Liton Das, 3 Shakib Al Hasan, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim, 5 Mahmudullah (capt), 6 Afif Hossain, 7 Nurul Hasan (wk), 8 Mahedi Hasan, 9 Mohammad Saifuddin, 10 Shoriful Islam, 11 Mustafizur Rahman
Scotland have the option of legspinner Chris Greaves after his four-for against Netherlands in the practice match. Hamza Tahir, the left-arm spinner, wicketkeeper-batter Craig Wallace and fast bowler Brad Wheal are also options available to them.
Scotland (possible): 1 George Munsey, 2 Kyle Coetzer (capt), 3 Matthew Cross (wk), 4 Richie Berrington, 5 Calum MacLeod, 6 Dylan Budge, 7 Michael Leask, 8 Mark Watt, 9 Safyaan Sharif, 10 Josh Davey, 11 Alasdair Evans
Stats that matter
- Scotland have won the sole T20I between the two sides, although Bangladesh won all four completed ODIs
- Bangladesh have won only five out of 25 completed matches at the T20 World Cup