Backed by a vociferous and expectant home support, hopes will be high of hosts Bangladesh making a significant impact on the ICC World Twenty20. The reality is that making a positive impression will be incredibly tough, considering both their current form and past tournament history.
Since winning their opening WT20 encounter against the West Indies in 2007, Bangladesh have not tasted victory since - losing 10 games across four separate tournaments.
They head into this competition off the back of a nightmare Asia Cup campaign, which was also held in front of their own passionate crowd. Although that tournament was played out over 50 overs, it’s difficult not to be alarmed by how disjointed Bangladesh were.
Before Bangladesh can even begin to plan for facing off against the big boys they must avoid the ignominy of failing to negotiate their way out of Group A. The most chastening aspect of that Asia Cup debacle was a humbling by Afghanistan; the opening fixture of this tournament brings about a golden opportunity to avenge that defeat.
Even crediting that Afghanistan are clearly a side very much on an upward curve, if Bangladesh hit their peak they should prove too strong, yet given that inconsistency has for so long typified their cricket, that is no forgone conclusion.
If they come through that contest then Nepal and Hong Kong should not prove a major hurdle, even for a side with the ability to go from the divine to the desperate with such regularity as Bangladesh.
The early stages of the tournament should in theory benefit Bangladesh, given the opportunity it brings to build much-needed momentum for a side who have found winning a rarity - since the last World Cup they have lost 16 per cent of their Twenty20 fixtures.
The Super 10 draw has not favoured their chances of conjuring an upset; progress from Group A would land them a spot in Group 2 alongside Australia, India, Pakistan and West Indies - four of the more fancied sides.
Nevertheless those sides are susceptible to off days, of which Bangladesh on a good day are capable of taking advantage of.
Bangladesh do possess more ability than results suggest, particularly their batsman who average 8.3 runs per over since the 2012 edition of this tournament, with Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan rated as possessing the seventh and eighth best strike rates of batsman who scored over 135 runs during that period.
The 23.7 runs they average per wicket is less flattering, with this figure the lowest of any major nation, which enhances a view that their batsman are lacking in application.
Bowling is clearly the weaker field, given Bangladesh conceded an average of 170 runs per fixture during that time period. With the exception of Shakib, whose economy rate of 5.42 since October 2012 can only be bettered by Dale Steyn, they are bereft of bowlers who can keep things tight, with an absence of discipline again an issue.
The recent series against Sri Lanka outlined reason for optimism; however the manner in which Bangladesh twice managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory highlights their mental fragility.
Bangladesh’s persistent struggles are unlikely to dampen expectations from the home faithful, meaning not only are they battling against superior opponents but also from weighty home pressure. The experience of holding games during the 2011 World Cup should however be beneficial in dealing with this.
The pivotal thing for Bangladesh is that they avoid complacency and negotiate that opening banana skin against Afghanistan, only then can they look towards proving they belong at the top table. History suggests an upset is not beyond them if they do progress but taking into account their inconsistency issues it is highly unlikely they will achieve anything more.
L L L L W L
14th February 2014 – Lost to Sri Lanka by three wickets (Chittagong)
12th February – Lost to Sri Lanka by two runs (Chittagong)
6th November – Lost to New Zealand by 15 runs (Dhaka)
12th May 2013 – Beat Zimbabwe by 34 runs (Bulawayo)
11th May – Lost to Zimbabwe by six runs (Bulawayo)
31st March – Lost to Sri Lanka by 17 runs (Pallekele)
Mushfiqur Rahim (captain), Mahmudullah, Abdur Razzak, Al-Amin Hossain, Anamul Haque, Farhad Reza, Mashrafe Mortaza, Mominul Haque, Nasir Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Shabbir Rahman, Shamsur Rahman, Shakib Al Hasan, Sohag Gazi, Tamim Iqbal
© Cricket World 2014