They’re the lowest ranked team in the tournament and have never played in a World Cup before, so there are no expectations. Bangladesh have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
A bit of history: Bangladesh only gained ODI status in 2011 on the back of World Cup Qualifier performances and only permanently in April 2021, less than a year ago. Playing in the first World Cup is in fact victory enough.
A Traditional Women’s Cricket team
Women’s teams a century ago and right up to the 1990s were filled with allrounders and this Bangladesh team is just that. Not batters who bowl a bit of part time spin, but a team of players most of whom are equally at home with bat or ball. You’ll see many of the players in the top batters list at the top bowlers list.
Captain Nigar Sultana and her team only emerged from their Covid hiatus in November 2021 when they played and defeated Zimbabwe 3-0 in ODIs. Not bad for a team that had not been on the park for two years. While other teams looked rusty, the Lady Tigers came out all guns blazing. They were looking good in the ODI World Cup Qualifiers before Covid send everybody rushing from that event.
Not the ideal preparation for a World Cup, but when they were on the pitch, those allrounders created havoc in Bulawayo against Zimbabwe and later in Harare for the Qualifiers.
Nigar Sultana (c), Salma Khatun, Rumana Ahmed, Fargana Hoque, Jahanara Alam, Shamima Sultana, Fahima Khatun, Ritu Moni, Murshida Khatun, Nahida Akter, Sharmin Akhter, Lata Mondal, Sobhana Mostary, Fariha Trisna, Suraiya Azmin.
Nuzhat Tasnia and Sanjida Akter Meghla named as reserve players.
They have a settled pair opening the batting which not every team in this tournament can boast. Murshida Khatun and Shamima Sultana have formed a good understanding opening the batting and both have recent good scores under their belts.
Sharmin Akhter, Fargana Hoque, Rumana Ahmed and the skipper, Nigar Sultana form the basis of a solid middle order, indeed Fargana and Rumana are the leading run scorers for Bangladesh. The team does tend to bat all the way down the list, the tail being handy with the bat if needed.
It is likely we will see both Fargana and Rumana pass 1000 runs during the tournament. The only question is which one will do it first. Salma Khatun‘s 75 not out is the highest scorer for Bangladesh. It would be a delight to see one of the players score the first century for the Lady Tigers.
The strength of this team is their bowling. The pace attack is led by veteran Jahanara Alam who returns to the team after orginally being left out of the squad. Bangladesh is stronger for her presence and it is likely she’ll not only lead the pace attack, she will be the entire pace attack. The youngster Suraiya Azmin stepped up admirably during Jahanara’s absence but it is doubtful that Bangladesh will play two quicks.
This team has the most wonderful collection of spin bowling options, and none better at the moment than Nahida Akter, player of the series against Zimbabwe. The left arm slow bowler took 5-21 at Bulawayo, the second best all time figures for the team. Rumana Ahmed is the leading wicket taker with 45 with her leg breaks and not far behind Salma Khatun (41) with her off breaks.
There are more spin options available but the above three are the most threatening to opposition batters. Nigar Sultana pulls the levers and rings the changes on field as the team’s wicket keeper.
The Lady Tigers are definitely primed for an upset victory or two and they’d back themselves against traditional rivals Pakistan but is is most unlikely we’ll see the team in the finals. But, hey, it’s a debut and Bangladesh have nothing to lose.