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Bangladesh, USA face off to fine-tune for T20I World Cup

This is the first time they are facing each other in international cricket and have a chance to acclimatise to the Texan conditions

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
The Bangladesh players warm up, USA vs Bangladesh, 1st T20I, Prairie View, May 19, 2024

The Bangladesh players warm up at the Prairie View Cricket Complex  •  BCB

Bangladesh and USA have a chance to fine-tune their T20 World Cup preparations when they face off in a three-match T20I series from May 21. This is the first time these two teams will play a T20I against each other. Here are the main talking points for the series.

Tuning up for the T20 World Cup

Thunderstorms with hurricane-forced winds welcomed Bangladesh in Texas last week. The weather cleared up a day later and they had their first training session at the Prairie View Cricket Complex on Sunday. Bangladesh and USA will have one more practice session before the first match on Tuesday. All three games of the T20I series will be played at the Grand Prairie venue. It could serve as good practice for Bangladesh who start their T20 World Cup campaign here against Sri Lanka on June 7. USA also play their first two World Cup games in Grand Prairie against Canada and Pakistan.

Bangladesh batting in focus

Captain Najmul Hossain Shanto had blamed the pitches in Chattogram and Dhaka for the team's unconvincing batting performance against Zimbabwe at home earlier this month. While Bangladesh won the series 4-1, the three out of five times they batted first, the highest score they posted was 165. Will the Bangladesh batters wait to see how the conditions play out in Texas, or are they going to switch to T20 mode from the get-go?
Shanto and Litton Das haven't shown great form while Soumya Sarkar is recovering from a knee injury. Shakib Al Hasan has just returned to T20I side after almost a year, which means for now much of Bangladesh's batting rests on Towhid Hridoy and Mahmudullah. Promoting them up the order could be a way to give them more time in the middle, though the likes of Shanto, Litton and Soumya also need to get some runs to build their confidence ahead of the T20 World Cup.

What will Stuart Law bring to the table?

Bangladesh will be greeted by a familiar face in the opponent camp: Stuart Law. The former Australia batter was Bangladesh's head coach in 2012, and more recently the Bangladesh Under-19 coach. Law, who was last month appointed the USA head coach, brings years of coaching experience with him.
Law's immediate challenge would be to help USA get a good start against Bangladesh, in what is only their second bilateral series against a Full Member nation. Law would know many of the Bangladesh players well, especially the younger lot who worked under him recently.

Time to fix Bangladesh's catching

Bangladesh would want to improve their catching going into the T20 World Cup. According to ESPNcricinfo's logs, they have dropped eight out of 42 catching chances in the bilateral series against Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe this year. Taking high catches has particularly been in focus after both wicketkeepers Litton and Jaker Ali spilled three skiers between them. Several dropped chances at crucial moments this year are eating into the slight uptick in catching from last year.

A familiar foe awaits

Although Bangladesh will play against the USA in international cricket for the first time on Tuesday, they know Corey Anderson, who made his USA debut last month, very well. Seven years ago, Anderson, playing for New Zealand, struck ten sixes in his unbeaten 41-ball 94 against Bangladesh in Mount Maunganui. It is the most sixes hit against Bangladesh in a T20I innings, and the third-highest strike rate for a 75-plus run knock. This is the destructive Anderson that USA will be hoping to see against Bangladesh.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84