Bangladesh seek quarter-final boost
Thursday, March 5
Start time 1100 local (2200 GMT)
If Bangladesh are to make the World Cup quarter-finals, they have to win at least two of their next three matches. If they win against Scotland at the Saxton Oval, their next game against England will be a virtual play-off. But Bangladesh would be thinking that far ahead at their own peril.
They are ranked No. 9 in ODIs, so Bangladesh are positioned to be dominant against lower-ranked teams. They easily defeated Afghanistan by 105 runs, a result which could have gone either way for the first 29 overs but had only one direction afterwards.
Bangladesh have also never lost to Scotland, but that statistic is bit hollow when you consider the last of their three completed ODIs between the two sides was played in 2006. The last recorded Bangladesh-Scotland ODI was abandoned without a ball being bowled nearly five years ago. In fact, Scotland had the last laugh between the two sides, so to say, when they beat Bangladesh by 34 runs in a T20I in 2012, their last meeting at international level.
Bangladesh have often found themselves under the extra pressure of expectation in matches against lower-ranked teams, as the threat of a potential embarrassment keeps them wary. But when fully confident, Bangladesh have dominated Associates since their own promotion in 2000.
One might think that Scotland have nothing to lose, but they would consider this game as their last realistic opportunity to put points on the board as their next two games are against Sri Lanka and Australia. They lost a great opportunity in their last game when they let Afghanistan off the hook, and lost by one wicket. Scotland's pace bowlers have been impressive, but lacking the finishing move.
(last five matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
Mushfiqur Rahim would be a handful for Scotland if he gets going, and he has done so with regularity in the recent past. If given a batting promotion, he is the most likely batsman to get Bangladesh's first World Cup hundred.
Josh Davey is Scotland's highest wicket-taker in this World Cup with nine scalps. He has a bustling action and his pace is the sort that has often troubled Bangladesh's top-order. He has also batted in the top-order eleven times so far.
Associates have often struggled against Bangladesh's spin, so either of Taijul Islam or Arafat Sunny could be included. Whether Bangladesh would like to play without the security of eight batsmen remains the major question about their make-up. Tamim Iqbal and Anamul Haque are also under the scanner, but are likely to stay in the XI.
Bangladesh (possible) 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Anamul Haque, 3 Soumya Sarkar, 4 Mahmudullah, 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 7 Sabbir Rahman, 8 Mominul Haque/Taijul Islam, 9 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 10 Taskin Ahmed, 11 Rubel Hossain
Scotland captain Preston Mommsen said that all fifteen players were fit for selection. They will want to pick their quickest bowlers against Bangladesh so only Safyaan Sharif has a chance to force himself in to the line-up that played against Afghanistan.
Scotland (possible) 1 Kyle Coetzer, 2 Calum MacLeod, 3 Hamish Gardiner, 4 Matt Machan, 5 Preston Mommsen (capt), 6 Richie Berrington, 7 Matthew Cross (wk), 8 Josh Davey, 9 Majid Haq, 10 Alasdair Evans, 11 Iain Wardlaw
Pitch and conditions
Although there was a thick cover of brown grass on the pitch, it is not something the batsmen should be worried about. It will be rolled flat on the morning of the game and the ball should skid on to the bat nicely. It has been an unusually dry February in Nelson, which has made the pitch hard and bouncier. Spinners are not likely to get any help from the pitch. The forecast is for a dry day although with increasing cloud.
Stats and trivia
Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mashrafe Mortaza and Majid Haq are the only survivors from the last completed ODI played between the two sides in 2006.
Tamin Iqbal needs 10 runs to reach 4000 in ODIs
Rubel Hossain has the best strike-rate for a Bangladesh bowler who has played a minimum of 50 ODIs.
"We expect to win. When we lost [against Sri Lanka], we also lost some confidence. So this is an opportunity to win this match and go with some confidence into the game against England."
Mashrafe Mortaza is looking beyond this match
"Ireland attacked the West Indies bowlers on this ground and we will try and represent the Associates tomorrow as best as we can."
Scotland captain Preston Mommsen suggests Scotland will not hold back