The last time the T20 World Cup qualifiers round needed to be settled on the last day, one of the greatest chases in the format took place in Sylhet. Netherlands chased down 190 in 13.5 overs against Ireland to vault over from No. 3 to No. 1 in the group. It was a game that, many believe, helped change the perception of T20s.
Down to the final round of matches this time around, there are a lot of equations facing all four teams in Group B
on Thursday. Even winless Papua New Guinea have a chance at a place in the Super 12s. If Sylhet in 2014 is anything to go by, expect fireworks in Muscat. Bangladesh remain in a must-win situation as they take on PNG in the afternoon game at the Al Amerat Ground. The proceedings of this game will have a knock-on effect in the evening match between Oman and Scotland.
Bangladesh, though, have recovered from the Scotland shock by beating Oman
. It was a hard-fought win that exposed some of the gaps in their system, but it has served its purpose. Shakib Al Hasan
brought out his trademark Player-of-the-Match-winning performance, scoring 42 and taking three wickets. Mohammad Naim batted well with Shakib, getting 64, while offspinner Mahedi Hasan and seamer Mohammad Saifuddin stifled Oman at crucial stages. Mustafizur Rahman, despite a wayward first spell, finished with a four-wicket haul.
Bangladesh did tick some of the boxes on Tuesday that they couldn’t against Scotland, but some problems still need solving. Their powerplay scoring remains low, which is mostly due to Liton Das’ indifferent form. They are also struggling with the bat at the death, a period in which Mahmudullah, Nurul Hasan and Afif Hossain have done well in the recent past.
PNG will look to capitalise on all of these and cause an upset. They are short on confidence as well as on experience, but they have the makings of a potentially exciting T20 side in the near future. Assad Vala
and Charles Amini batted well against Oman in their first game, while Kabua Morea and Norman Vanua performed against Scotland. But they need a team effort, with a few more contributors.
Nafees: Whenever Bangladesh have needed Shakib, he has done it
(Last five completed matches)
In the spotlight
PNG must do their homework on Mahedi Hasan. He started off with three wickets against Scotland, reducing them to 53 for 6 before Bangladesh let it slip. Against Oman when Bangladesh were in big trouble, Mahedi’s 1 for 14 from four overs bailed them out. His batting hasn’t fired, though.
was PNG’s first wicket-taker in the T20 World Cup, and later went on to complete a four-wicket haul. Morea is a lively left-arm quick who showed accuracy against Scotland. PNG will, thus, hope that he can take advantage of Bangladesh’s powerplay struggles.
Bangladesh are likely to stick with the same XI that beat Oman.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Mohammad Naim, 2 Liton Das, 3 Shakib Al Hasan, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim, 5 Mahmudullah (capt), 6 Afif Hossain, 7 Nurul Hasan (wk), 8 Mahedi Hasan, 9 Mohammad Saifuddin, 10 Taskin Ahmed, 11 Mustafizur Rahman
Papua New Guinea (probable): 1 Tony Ura, 2 Lega Siaka, 3 Assad Vala (capt), 4 Charles Amini, 5 Sese Bau, 6 Simon Atai, 7 Norman Vanua, 8 Kiplin Doriga (wk), 9 Chad Soper, 10, Nosaina Pokana, 11 Kabua Morea
Stats and trivia
PNG will be Bangladesh’s 21st opponent in international cricket. They have, however, played twice as Associate nations at a time when matches between such sides were not counted as internationals. While PNG beat Bangladesh in the ICC Trophy in 1982 in the third-place playoff, Bangladesh beat them once in the 1996 ACC Trophy.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84