Bangladesh face PNG in high-stakes final group game

Sports Thursday 21/October/2021 09:27 AM
Bangladesh face PNG in high-stakes final group game
Bangladesh go into the match third on the four-team table with two points, behind Oman on run-rate.

Bangladesh and Papua New Guinea feature in their final match of the Group B first round, with an entry to Super 12 to play for.

Beaten by Scotland in their opening match and given a scare by Oman early in their second, Bangladesh's hopes of making it to the Super 12 round depend on putting together a comprehensive show against PNG at the Oman Cricket Academy Ground.

Bangladesh go into the match third on the four-team table with two points, behind Oman on run-rate. If they lose, they are out of the tournament. Even if they win on Thursday, given that a situation could arise with three teams on four points each, they will have an eye on the net run rate.

PNG for their part are taking inspiration from Scotland, as well as the fight they themselves showed in the previous game against the same opponents. Two days ago, they came back from 35/5 to nearly chase down 166.

The World Cup debutants aren't mathematically out of the competition yet. However, their priority is getting their first win at a World Cup and against a strong T20 side rather than going for a risky net run rate boost.

"It will be history in the making to win at least a game in the World Cup," said Charles Amini. "So that would be the first thing. Whatever happens after that is not in our control. We'll try to do our best. If there's an opportunity in us qualifying for the next stage with the net run rate, we'll obviously try to work towards that."

The Teams

Bangladesh have done well in patches, but are yet to put together a complete batting performance. They made a change at the top last game, but the openers are yet to click in tandem to maximise the Powerplay. The form of Shakib Al Hasan in the middle order is a positive, but they could use more hitting at the death. While they may not make changes to their XI, there may be a reshuffle in the batting order.

Probable Bangladesh XI: Mohammad Naim, Liton Das, Shakib Al Hasan, Nurul Hasan (wk), Afif Hossain, Mahmudullah (capt), Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahedi Hasan, Mohammad Saifuddin, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman

PNG have suffered a string of losses this year and their top order have showed a tendency to collapse. Their batters will need to rediscover their touch and play with more game awareness if they are to compete against Bangladesh.

Probable PNG XI: Tony Ura, Lega Siaka, Assad Vala (capt), Charles Amini, Sese Bau, Simon Atai, Norman Vanua, Kiplin Doriga (wk), Chad Soper, Nosaina Pokana, Kabua Morea

Key Players

Mohammad Naim, Bangladesh's left-hand opener, made fifty in his first game of the tournament, striking four sixes and affording the team some stability at the top. Given the importance of maximising the Powerplay, Bangladesh will expect consistency from him.

Chad Soper, PNG's pace-bowling all-rounder, played his first game of the tournament and made an impact with both bat and ball. Bowling at the Powerplay and the death, he picked up three vital wickets. Then, coming in at No.9, he dug into his experience to clear the ropes and add valuable runs.  

Captaincy Pick - Shakib Al Hasan

No need to think twice before picking Shakib as the fantasy captain for Bangladesh's clash against Papua New Guinea. The all-rounder has been the top performer for the side in the first two games, having scored 62 runs in total and taken five wickets.

His contributions have not only helped fantasy users but also helped Bangladesh stay alive in the tournament, as they look to strengthen their claim for a place in the Super 12.

Must-have  - Mustafizur Rahman

The left-arm pacer has been the go-to man for skipper Mahmadullah whenever the Tigers have needed a wicket. He has bagged six wickets in the two games played so far. In addition to his impressive recent form, his career bowling strike rate of 14.4 in T20Is makes him a must-have in a fantasy team on any given day.

What will a win mean for Bangladesh?

If Bangladesh win, they have a good chance of going into the Super 12. Depending on the other result, they could even progress as the top team in the group, having given their net run rate a boost.

What will a win mean for PNG?

Even a win may not be enough for PNG to continue their run in the tournament. They will have to win with a significant margin and have the result of the other match in the group go their way.