The sixth edition of the ICC Women's World Twenty 20 will kick off on November 9 with Bangladesh taking on the hosts and current champions West Indies in the opener at Providence Stadium in Guyana. Tigresses won the ICC Women's World T20 Qualifier 2018 in the Netherlands earlier this year to seal their spot in the World T20.
In the Group A matches, Bangladesh will face England on Nov 12, Sri Lanka on Nov 14 and South Africa on Nov 18 for the last four race of the event. Ahead of their campaign in the in the 10-team world tournament, Bangladesh completed their warm-up mission with a six-wicket win against Ireland before an eight-run loss against Pakistan in Guyana on November 4 and 7 respectively, UNB.
On the way to World T20 in Caribbean, Bangladesh, ranked ninth on the ICC Women's T20I Team Rankings, remained irresistible throughout the eight-nation qualifiers tournament in Netherlands for an all-win title victory in July this year.
They defeated Ireland by 25-runs in the final of the qualifiers tournament in Utrecht on July 14, following victories against Scotland by 49-runs in the semifinal, eight-wickets against Papua New Guinea, seven wickets against the Netherlands and eight wickets against United Arab Emirates in their Pool 'A' battles.
Emerging champions in the qualifiers tournament, Bangladesh secured their third title victory in a row on the back of a maiden success in the six-nation Asia Cup T20 in Malaysia and a bilateral T20 series win by 2-1 margin against host Ireland both in June this year.
Bangladesh defeated India twice on their way to lift the Asia Cup title, and also had among their scalps Pakistan. Bangladesh have not yet won a match in WT20 but the Asia Cup title spring can bring surprises this year. The recent records of Bangladesh made their World T20 opponents wary of and have already took preparations with hard work to pose challenges in Caribbean.
Riding high on the success in Asia Cup, Bangladesh star all-rounder Rumana Ahmed said, "Asia Cup is in our hand, the qualifier trophy is in our hand. Everything is going well, so we are confident this time." BSS finds five reasons behind Bangladesh eve cricket team's rise:
All-round bowling attack
Spin has always been their strength. They have two bowlers in the top 10 of the rankings: Rumana, the loopy leg-spinner, at No.7 and Nahida Akter, the left-arm spinner, at No.9. However, in recent times, they've hunted as a pack.
Khadija tul Kubra and Salma's off-spin has given them good support, while the pacers too have pitched in. Jahanara Alam, their new-ball bowler, became the first from the country to take a five-wicket haul when she had 5/28 against Ireland, while the tall Panna Ghosh picked up 5/16 a couple of weeks later.According to coach Anju Jain, the variety in their attack and speeds makes the bowlers stand apart and offer something different.
Farjana Hoque and Shamima Sultana have held together the batting. Both batters have got two half-centuries this year, and between them have the top four individual scores for their country. They have also shown the ability to accelerate when needed. With Ayasha Rahman, Rumana and Salma pitching in, the team have posted all their top eight highest totals this year.
"The game is changing, with a lot of power hitting," pointed out Jain, identifying several of the players as capable of clearing the ropes. Constant work on fitness, and training with set targets of areas to attack and runs they want in a certain number of overs has helped them pace innings better, she said.
Mastering the chase
Nine of Bangladesh's 13 wins this year have come while chasing. They've shown an ability to hold their nerve and pace their chase, including, memorably, at the Asia Cup. They chased down a target of 142 in 19.4 overs for a seven-wicket win over India, for their highest total batting second, and second-highest total of all time. They also had last-ball wins against India and Ireland, and the confidence from that will be vital.
According to Jain, the players took a while to have faith in their ability to chase. "In the Asia Cup, we had a lot of discussions about it. These girls were always keen on batting first," she said. "But we (support staff) said that in the shorter formats it's always better to have a target. Bowling has been their strength, but we felt we had good batting too."
Match practice against strong opposition
No team other than India have played as many T20Is as Bangladesh in the past 12 months. They have tested themselves against India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Ireland, all of whom will be involved in the World T20. Ahead of the tournament, they spent a week in Grenada, practising against boys' teams.
They may not have won as many matches against higher-ranked teams as they'd have liked, but in all, they have 12 wins out of 20 matches this year. "When you lose, it doesn't mean that everything is gone," Rumana was philosophical. "Even when we lose, we can learn. The South Africa tour was effective for us because the condition there was difficult. We knew that we played well against them. After that we played the Asia Cup and won!"
Dominance against lower-raked sides
When they've come up against lower-ranked sides, Bangladesh have pressed their advantage and taken confidence from it. Their top three biggest wins - whether you look at it by runs, wickets or balls remaining - have come in 2018.
Salma Khatun (C ), Rumana Ahmed, Jahanara Alam, Fargana Haque, Khadija Tul Kubra, Fahima Khatun, Ayesha Rahman, Shamima Sultana (wk), Nahida Akter, Panna Ghosh, Ritu Moni, Sanjida Islam, Nigar Sultana, Lata Mondol and Sharmin Akter Supta.
Stand-by: Sharmin Sultana, Surya Azmin, Shaila Sharmin and Sultana Khatun.