DUBAI: Bangladesh’s star all-rounder Shakib Al-Hasan believes that series wins against Australia, New Zealand and Zimbabwe will boost their chances at the T20 World Cup despite a record which shows just one victory at the tournament since 2007.

Bangladesh will have to take part in the qualifying round at the 2021 event.

But Shakib believes the recent wins in Dhaka have toughened the side at the right time.

“I think we have a good chance in the World Cup. We had a good preparation. The big reason for this is that we won those three series,” said Shakib. “When a team keeps winning, it builds a winning mentality, it takes confidence to a new level.”

The Tigers go into qualifying against Scotland, Oman and Papua New Guinea seeking one of two places to take part in the main Super 12 competition.

Now sixth in the ICC Twenty20 rankings, they are among the favourites to get through.

The team’s limited over fortunes have been boosted by the good form of fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman — a standout performer at the IPL with Rajasthan Royals.

Bangladesh have also discovered a new generation of batters in Mohammad Naim, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar and Mushfiqur Rahim to back captain Mahmudullah.

But the wins against Australia and New Zealand were against weakened touring sides on slow pitches that perfectly suited Bangladesh’s game.

And not everyone is optimistic about Bangladesh’s improved showing having an effect at the World Cup.

“We have not won a game in the main round since 2007. I can only hope that this situation will change this time,” former captain Mohammad Ashraful says. “I am expecting two wins against Afghanistan and Ireland [if they qualify].

“Anything more than this will be a big achievement,” he said.

Ashraful, player-of-the-match in Bangladesh’s World Cup win over West Indies in 2007, played down the importance of the wins over Australia (4-1) and New Zealand (3-2).

“Australia and New Zealand sent weak teams, none had their main batsmen, yet we also lost matches to them,” he said. “We got the wins but no batsman scored a hundred or a bowler got five wickets.

“A win always gives you confidence. But I did not see any individual performance. The bowlers did well but I don’t think we will get this kind of wicket in the UAE.”

Bangladesh beat Australia, who were without captain Aaron Finch and other key players, 4-1 in August before posting a 3-2 win against New Zealand next month.

New Zealand had none of their World Cup players.

Bangladesh’s passionate fans want to see the much-loved Shakib and his teammates turn words into actions at this World Cup.

Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2021

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