After much discussion about its unique style of T20 aggression, Bangladesh demonstrates its grit.
At the Shere Bangla National Stadium on a pleasant Sunday evening, Bangladesh courageously overcame its first T20 challenge, starting an uncertain journey at the T20 World Cup last year, but it is now paying off. This change symbolizes a new generation of athletes who have been seamlessly assimilated into a locker room and are motivated by a daring and cunning mentality. Giving up many seasoned players in favor of a “new Bangladesh,” which has completely embraced the significance of T20Is alongside ODIs, required a leap of faith.
Mehidy Hasan Miraz, who shocked India in December with a double miracle, once again showcased his match-winning skills against England at a crucial time. His four-wicket haul was pivotal in both of England’s batting failures. He had 19 wickets on England’s previous visit to Bangladesh in 2016, including seven on his debut and twelve in Bangladesh’s first-ever Test victory over England, so England is well aware of his abilities. But he has since developed into a genuine all-rounder who can swing a game. He displayed his aggressive side by entering the batting order at No. 5 in the most recent match against England and seizing control of the chase, which had stalled.
In the first T20I in Chattogram, Najmul Hossain Shanto stunned England with a rapid half-century off just 27 balls. However, in the second game played in Dhaka, Shanto played a different role, anchoring the innings as the top order struggled. In Dhaka, this style of T20 batting is uncommon, but Shanto adapted well, playing to his strengths and not taking undue risks. His knock of 46 off 47 balls may have been the slowest 40-plus score in a Bangladesh win, but it was valuable as he held the innings together while wickets fell regularly at the other end. His presence allowed Mehidy to attack, scoring a quick 20 off 16 balls before Taskin Ahmed and Shanto combined to bring Bangladesh victory through intelligent running between the wickets.
Taskin Ahmed has put in a lot of effort to develop into a match-winner and is now ranked among the elite group of fast bowlers, including Shaheen Shah Afridi and Josh Hazlewood. In the final over of the second T20I against England, he demonstrated his critical batting abilities and outstanding fielding skills.
Litton Das has a solid reputation in the Bangladesh squad despite not frequently scoring in the series. Afif Hossain has surpassed Mahmudullah’s 54-game streak to become the team’s most consistent T20I player, while Najmul Hossain Shanto broke multiple batting records in 2022. Hasan Mahmud is gradually developing into the white-ball player many saw in him starting in 2020. Additionally, because of their outstanding performances in the Bangladesh Premier League, players like Towhid Hridoy, Rony Talukdar, and Shamim Hossain have been chosen for this game.
The T20 World Cup last year served as the impetus for this change in the group’s mentality. While players like Litton, Shanto, Mosaddek Hossain, and Yasir Ali were assured they could play freely, the BCB upended things by hiring Sridharan Sriram, who served as the team’s de facto head coach. Bangladesh’s failure to make it to the knockout rounds didn’t light the globe on fire, but there was clear mental development.
Mehidy expressed his satisfaction with the Bangladesh team’s performance in the T20 World Cup, noting they had several significant opportunities to advance further in the tournament. He acknowledged that everyone on the team is playing with a positive mindset and is fully invested in the game plan. In Twenty20 cricket, he emphasized the need to react to every ball that comes your way and take risks with courage. He cited Towhid Hridoy as an example of a player who looks like he has been playing at the international level for a long time despite it being his first series. Mehidy also praised Najmul Hossain Shanto for his excellent mentality and consistent performance, despite facing criticism in the past. He highlighted the small changes that have significantly impacted the team’s success.
These kinds of victories over powerful opponents like England will boost the group’s confidence, Mehidy continued.
Young players are on the squad, so winning against powerful opponents will give us an advantage psychologically, he said. “We can get more powerful. We now understand how to combat powerful squads. Against strong opposition, there is nothing to lose and much to win. This set went our way. No harm could come to us. However, how we approached this series will undoubtedly inspire us.”
Mehidy said Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan had urged them to remain focused while formulating their plan during the mid-innings break, even though they only needed 118 to win. “We made an effort to use the bat calmly. We weren’t overly ecstatic about knocking them out. Don’t get too happy just yet, the skipper warned. When we succeed, we will rejoice. Every moment should be taken seriously, and we should encourage the batters in the middle,” he said.
Bangladesh’s new approach of trust, confidence, and positivity seems to have paid off in their recent series win against England. Players like Shanto, Mehidy, and Taskin have shown they can react to challenging situations and come out on top. However, the team knows that more challenges will be ahead, with the next one coming up on Tuesday. It will be interesting to see if they can continue to build on their recent success and keep their momentum in the future.