A spectator looks on during the Cricket World Cup opening match between India and Bangladesh at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka.
The sky was preparing itself to open up, ushering in an early dusk. The groundsmen here were taking preventive measures, covering almost the entire ground. The West Indies cricketers were preparing themselves at the far end to get over Sunday’s lethargic show against India because in a five-team group, after losing the first match, it’s do or die for the rest of the games.
Hosts Bangladesh were gearing up to begin their Super 10 campaign of the World T20 after making it from the qualifying stages. And the rest of the nation was preparing itself for its 43rd Independence Day on Wednesday when they plan to hit the Guinness Book of World Records. More than 3 lakh people will sing the national anthem together at the old airport area and more than 7 lakh will assemble to watch the accomplishment.
For Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim though a good show on Tuesday evening against West Indies will be a perfect Independence Day gift to the country of 16 crore. Somehow, the glorious uncertainty of cricket is reflected all the more through the performance of Bangladesh.
They have defeated all top teams in the world over the years and some of their major upsets have come in the two formats of the World Cup. Yet, Nepal remains the only associate nation which has not defeated Bangladesh.
But Bangladesh’s confidence stems from the fact that they had defeated West Indies 3-2 in a five-match one-day series the last time they met here in 2012. Spin was their strength then, and on Tuesday, skipper Mushfiqur felt if they got a wicket to their liking, they were more than capable of shocking the star-studded West Indies.
While the loss to Hong Kong was analysed and poor shot selection came to the fore as the reason of the reversal, West Indies’ show against India and their evident weakness in playing quality spin is what Bangladesh is banking on. “We didn’t play well in the last game, but it’s T20 and anything can happen. Out of our last four meetings against West Indies, we won two. So, anything can happen. We are looking forward to the challenge,” Mushfiqur said.
But the world’s top ranked all-rounder in this format, Shakib Al Hasan, was more realistic. “It’s better not to have much expectation from us. You should enjoy the cricket and support us,” the former Bangladesh skipper said.