Bangladesh brace for Oman's surprise factor
Sunday, March 13, 2016
Start time 1930 local (1400 GMT)
When the tournament's schedule was first announced, few would have given Oman a chance of qualifying ahead of Bangladesh and Ireland from their group. Having beaten Ireland in a last-over thriller, Oman, whose game against Netherlands was washed out, will head into their knockout clash against Bangladesh high on confidence. But confidence alone won't help them if the iffy Dharamsala weather intervenes. It has been raining for the last two days, and plenty more is forecast on match day. If there were to be another washout, Oman would endure heartbreak as Bangladesh are marginally ahead on net run rate.
Oman would rely on Zeeshan Maqsood and Khawar Ali to power them upfront, to give Jatinder Singh and Amir Ali an opportunity to lend the finishing touches. Ajay Lalcheta and Munis Ansari, whose action resembles Lasith Malinga's, will be key if Oman are to restrict Bangladesh's in-form batting unit.
That could be a herculean task if Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar and Sabbir Rahman tee off like they did against Ireland in eight overs before the rain came. Tamim, in particular, looks in fine touch, having made an unbeaten 83 and 47 against Netherlands and Ireland respectively. Sarkar and Sabbir would want to prolong their stay in the middle to take the pressure off the slightly out-of-touch Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan.
Bangladesh's bowling may be a concern with Arafat Sunny already in Chennai to conduct his bowling action test after being warned by the ICC. He could be missed on a slow pitch, but Bangladesh have variety as Shakib, Mahmudullah and even Nasir Hossain can cover up in his absence,
Bangladesh WLWWW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
Watch out for
Soumya Sarkar is becoming an expert in getting the side off to fast starts, but he has also been guilty of frittering the early advantage, as was the case against Netherlands and Ireland. The game against Oman could be a good chance for him to bat deep into the innings and bring up a score of substance.
Amir Ali is a marketing manager at an Indian restaurant in Muscat but after his 17-ball 32 against Ireland, Bangladesh would have done well to mark him as one to watch out for in a high-pressure clash.
Against Ireland, Mohammad Mithun and Abu Hider replaced Nasir Hossain and Arafat Sunny. Bangladesh could retain this line-up, though Nasir's bowling is handy in the shorter version.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Soumya Sarkar, 3 Sabbir Rahman, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim, 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Mohammad Mithun/Nasir Hossain, 8 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 9 Al-Amin Hossain, 10 Abu Hider, 11 Taskin Ahmed
Unless they spot something dramatically different in the pitch, Oman are unlikely to tinker with their starting XI
Oman (probable) 1 Zeeshan Maqsood, 2 Khawar Ali, 3 Jatinder Singh, 4 Adnan Ilyas, 5 Mehran Khan, 6 Aamir Kaleem, 7 Amir Ali, 8 Sultan Ahmed (capt. & wk), 9 Ajay Lalcheta, 10 Munis Ansari, 11 Bilal Khan
Pitch and conditions
There's more rain on the radar on Sunday. But despite being under covers for a long time on Friday, the pitch played well in the Bangladesh-Ireland game, though the bowlers preferred slower variations.
Stats and trivia
- This is going to be the first Bangladesh-Oman cricket match at any level.
- Tamim Iqbal is now 11 runs short of 1,000 T20I runs while Shakib remains at 979 runs.
"We won't be taking Oman lightly. We don't have much footage for them, but we will prepare as hard as we do for India and Pakistan."
Bangladesh bowling coach Heath Streak
"It is a win-win situation for us. If we win we go through to the next round, but unfortunately if we can't do that we have still achieved a lot in this tournament."
Oman vice-captain and left-arm spinner Aamir Kaleem
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84