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How to beat Bangladesh

A data-driven strategic guide on how to beat Bangladesh.

Pace and bounce

Bangladesh have a massive weakness against pace and bounce. Since the start of 2018 no Full Member nation averages less against balls above 140 kph or against balls pitching shorter than 8 metres from the stumps. Bangladesh’s struggles against pace and bounce were exposed in the last World Cup in the UAE and are likely to be even more prominent in Australia where the pitches should make this type of bowling even more threatening. 

On an individual level Litton Das and Shakib Al Hasan have fairly robust records against high pace but the rest of the squad have major weaknesses. A few more of them are competent against the short ball but Soumya Sarkar, Nurual Hasan and Mahedi Hasan have major issues.

Pakistan have the fastest bowling attack in the tournament and match-up brilliantly against Bangladesh. South Africa also boast a number of high pace quicks and should have no difficulty exploiting this weakness. The absence of Jasprit Bumrah robs India of their fastest bowler so Mohammad Shami will carry the high pace burden. While he is not as quick as Bumrah he should still be fast enough. 

Swing the new ball

Bangladesh are also very susceptible against new ball swing. Since the start of 2021 no team averages less against Powerplay swing than they do. This is where India and Pakistan should enjoy bowling to them more than South Africa – whose only real shortcoming in the bowling department is a lack of new ball movement; although Wayne Parnell and Marcos Jansen could solve that problem by coming into the Dwaine Pretorius spot. 

Left-to-right spin is useful

Bangladesh are the most left-handed dominant teams in the world. Since the start of 2018 no Full Member nation has a higher proportion of balls faced by left-handers than their 48%. 

Naturally, this brings left-to-right spin into the equation against them. It’s no surprise that in that same time frame Bangladesh’s run rate against against off spin and left-arm wrist spin of 6.68 is the lowest of all Full Member teams. 

South Africa have Tabraiz Shamsi’s wrist spin and Aidan Markram’s off spin, Pakistan have Iftikhar Ahmed’s off spin and India would have to find room for one of Ravi Ashwin or Deepak Hooda into the team. West Indies – who could qualify into Bangladesh’s group if they top their group in Round One – only have Nicholas Pooran’s very occasional off spin to call on. 

Par should be enough

Bangladesh have a clear shortage of power: since the start of 2018 their balls per boundary of 7.45 is the highest of all Full Member nations. This lack of power translates into their struggle to chase large totals: in the same period they have only twice chased scores of above 160. Teams do not need to aim for enormous scores to remain competitive against Bangladesh. That said, their weakness and general unsuitability to conditions in Australia could also represent opportunities to make big, and potentially critical, Net Run Rate gains. 

Prepare for slower balls

Taskin Ahmed lends Bangladesh notable pace and bounce but the rest of their quicks lack ball-speed and make up for this deficiency by relying heavily on slower balls, particularly at the death. Indeed, since the start of 2021 no team has bowled a higher proportion of slower balls than they have. 

Have right-hand, left-hand combinations

Bangladesh bowl more finger spin than any team in the world, this enables their bowling attack to be effectively countered by mix-handed batting partnerships. Teams who pair right or left-handers are likely to be consistently attacked by off or left-arm spin. 

Freddie Wilde is Head of Performance Analysis at CricViz.

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