Lucky or not, seven is a number that should be tattooed on every Bangladesh supporter’s minds over the next month or so. Because seven is reality and rankings matter. It is the very number that Bangladeshis had rejoiced in less than two years ago at the cut-off stage for the top eight to qualify for the 2019 World Cup, three matches into which supporters are now wringing their hands and talking of wholesale changes in the middle of a tournament Bangladesh were never expected to win.
There is a reason there are six teams ahead of Bangladesh in the world and many of those were in evidence during Saturday’s 106-run loss to top-ranked England in Cardiff.
Bangladesh do not have the massive hitting power that the likes of Australia, South Africa, India and England do. They do not have multiple bowlers who can run through the opposition with sheer skill, pace, or mystery spin. That is not to say that bowlers have never done that for Bangladesh or that a batsman has not scored a 20-ball 50; just that there is no one in the squad or back home who can do it on a consistent basis.
Like most mid-table teams, Bangladesh are constantly battling with limitations, and it is with an understanding of those limitations that they have excelled over the past year and built a brand of their own, the successful execution of which saw them score 330 for six in their opening game and beat fourth-placed South Africa by 21 runs.
Two losses in two matches later and, after an admittedly poor display on the field against England, the knives are out. The age-old trapping of exalting those on the bench and belittling those on the field has come to the fore, which brings us to the following: