World Twenty20 2014 Results: Bangladesh Will Go Far After Big Opening Win

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2014

Bangladesh's bowler Shakib Al Hasan, second from left, celebrates with teammates the dismissal of Afghanistan's batsman Najibullah Taraki during their ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup opening match in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Sunday, March 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
Aijaz Rahi/Associated Press

Hosts Bangaldesh made a statement on the opening day of the 2014 World Twenty20 by beating Afghanistan by nine wickets in Mirpur on Sunday.

It was a fine display from Bangladesh and avenged their one-day loss to Afghanistan in the Asia Cup earlier this month.

Anamul Haque top-scored for Bangladesh with an unbeaten 33-ball 44 as they chased down the set target of 72 with six overs to spare.

In the bowling department, left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan impressed with figures of 3-8 from 3.1 overs in front of the sell-out home crowd of 25,000.

Speaking after the game, as reported by AFP, man-of-the-match Shakib commented that the pitch had been a help:

There was obviously spin out there

We put the ball in the right areas and that did the trick for us.

This is usually a good track, but today it was different.

With only one team from each group qualifying for the Super 10 stage, the Afghans look likely to make an early exit.

However, Bangladesh have made the type of impressive start they would have been hoping for and look the most likely to qualify from Group A.

Aijaz Rahi/Associated Press

The other match in the group saw Hong Kong demolished by Nepal and Bangladesh look capable of claiming victory over both of those sides.

If they can make it through to the Super 10 stage, Bangladesh will have met expectations. But after today's performance the home crowd may be hoping for some bigger scalps.

Assuming that Bangladesh get out of the preliminary group stage, they will go into Group 2 of the Super 10 and join Australia, West Indies, Pakistan and India.

West Indies and Australia have just won T20 series against England and South Africa, respectively, while Pakistan were finalists at the Asia Cup, so it will be tough for Bangladesh. However, in the Asia Cup Pakistan had to rely on a magnificent 29-ball 59 from Shahid Afridi to chase down Bangladesh's excellent total of 326.

A.M. Ahad/Associated Press

If Bangladesh can apply the pressure like that again in the shortest form of the game, Pakistan may not be able to respond.

Meanwhile, India could be ripe for the taking having only played one T20 international in the last 15 months.

They had a torrid tour of New Zealand in which they lost the test series 1-0 and the one-day series 4-0.

They were also underwhelming in the Asia Cup meaning if Bangladesh bring their best form they could cause an upset.

Haque will be key to any Bangladeshi hopes. The 21-year-old has an average just shy of 50 in T20 internationals while his strike rate is in the high 130s, per ESPNcricinfo.

He won Sunday's game with a six and has the firepower to trouble other bowling attacks.

It may be unlikely that Bangladesh reach the knockout stages of this tournament but with the home crowd's backing it is not impossible.

Equally, even if they do not advance, they will claim a significant victory or two if they can take momentum from their impressive opening win.