Shakib al Hasan feels that the Bangladesh unit will take some time to soak up the unfamiliar playing atmosphere after the start of the tri-series in Ireland. The first game, played at Malahide, Dublin, against the hosts, ended up in as no result due to persistent rain.

“It is different to what we are used to early on and it was not easy, but as the ball got older and softer the ball was coming nicely onto the bat,” Shakib said on Saturday (May 12). “It was a good experience, and we are now looking forward to the next game, against New Zealand,” he observed.

Ireland won the toss and put the visitors to bat first on a wicket that was being expected to support the bowlers. The Irish seamers made a quick positive start with Peter Chase reducing Bangladesh to 9/2 with the wickets of Soumya Sarkar and Sabbir Rahman. Barry McCarthy also did damage with the wicket of Mushfiqur Rahim before Chase struck again with the wicket of Shakib al Hasan.

However, opener Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah stabilised the innings brilliantly and avoided any further damage taking Bangladesh to 157/4 in 31.4 overs with the help of an unbeaten 87-run stand for the fifth wicket. Rains then intervened and did not stop to force the match to be abandoned. Iqbal ended with 64* and Mahmudullah walked out with 43*.

“Tamim played beautifully,” he said. “He applied himself really well and so did Mahmudullah (who was 43 not out). That partnership changed the momentum and we started controlling the game.”

Bangladesh will next face New Zealand in Dublin on Sunday (May 14). Shakib pointed out that the team will is relatively weaker as most of the star players are still busy with the IPL. Former skipper Mashrafe Mortaza also returns to the squad after facing a penalty for maintaining slow over-rate in Bangladesh’s recent tour of Sri Lanka.

“They have a new team, as they are still in the IPL, so they will be missing some experience, but they are still the second-ranked team (New Zealand are fourth) and they will come hard at us,” he added.

“We played them a few months back, it wasn’t a good memory as we didn’t too well in New Zealand but these are different conditions, a different scenario and we are hoping to do well.”

Bangladesh is at a very interesting position has an opportunity to climb up as high sixth in the points table awaits them by the end of the series.

The chances, however, are slim at the moment after the washout in the first game. They needed to beat Ireland in both the meetings and manage to get better of New Zealand at least once. Now they need to beat the Kiwis twice in order to gain vital points. Doing so would help them enter the Champions Trophy as the No. 6th team in the ODI rankings, an achievement that will bolster their confidence sky high.


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