New Delhi: Facts and figures relating to the Group B World Cup match between Bangladesh and Ireland (0830 GMT) at Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, Dhaka on Friday.
Bangladesh lead 4-2
In the sub-continent: Bangladesh lead 3-0
In the World Cups: Ireland lead 1-0
The match between the giant slayers of the 2007 World Cup promises to be riveting. Bangladesh have won comfortably each time they have played Ireland in Dhaka (thee times). With the home crowd hopefully getting more to cheer about than in their World Cup opening defeat by India, the odds must be on Bangladesh to deliver the goods. However, Ireland will feel they have the capability to handle the big pressure situation given their victory against Bangladesh in the Super Eights at Bridgetown four years ago.
Bangladesh will go into the match, having lost the opener to India but not embarrassed. Sehwag has decimated many a famed bowling attack and the way Bangladesh paced their chase so that they minimised the damage the net run rate (NRR) can do, would have given them a lot of confidence. Their form (LWWWL) in the last few matches and the 4-0 win against New Zealand in October 2010 will stand them in good stead.
Ireland will be opening their World Cup account against Bangladesh, in front of a very partisan, vociferous crowd. They pride in being cool under pressure, but a sub-continent crowd during a World Cup match is not the kind of pressure they would be used to. They have demonstrated mixed form lately (WLLWL) and have a 1-1 win-loss record against Bangladesh over the past year. The fact that they won only one of their four warm-up games should not play too heavily on their minds.
The Shere Bangla has favoured teams batting second in the last few years because of the dew factor and that had influenced Shakib Al Hasan to elect to field against India. Unfortunately for them, not only was the total posted by India very sizeable, but also the dew seemed conspicuous by its absence.
Nevertheless, expect the winning captain to put the opposition in to bat.
Tamim Iqbal was not his usual aggressive self against India but he clearly had been asked to play a more holding role. However, he is likely to be more attacking against Ireland, against whom he averages nearly 50 (one century, one 50)
William Porterfield, too, has a good average of 40 against Bangladesh (one century, one 50) and the kind of start the relatively reliable openers provide could well be the difference at the end of the match.