For millions in this country of extreme emotion and an almost unhealthy obsession with the national cricket team, the Super 10 phase of the ICC World Twenty20 2014 begins only today (Tuesday). A fair few teams have already played two matches each in the Super 10s, a couple of them are flirting with elimination, but Bangladesh, the host nation, will join the party of the big boys fairly late in the piece when they take on West Indies, the defending champion, in its opening Group 2 fixture at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium on the morrow.

The ‘tournament proper’ has been well patronised with big crowds both here in Mirpur and in Chittagong, where the Group 1 matches are being held, but energy levels will hit a new high when Mushfiqur Rahim’s boys line up against the might of West Indies, inexplicably uncertain against India on Sunday but almost certain to up its game, especially with the prospect of an early exit now reasonably genuine.

Bangladesh came through a topsy-turvy qualifying campaign in which it crushed Afghanistan, its conquerors in the 50-over Asia Cup, and Nepal before suffering a dramatic, unexpected reverse at the hands of Hong Kong, until then looking completely out of its depth. That two-wicket loss in Chittagong after it only posted 108 must have been a humbling experience for the host, already somewhat aggrieved that it was forced to take the qualifying route to its own party.

Conditions in Chittagong, of course, are vastly contrasting to those on offer at the Sher-e-Bangla, with its low, slow pitches that should suit Bangladesh, armed with a plethora of excellent spin options, a lot better. Whether that will necessarily translate into a victory over West Indies is another matter altogether for, despite its unbelievably timid batting display against India, Darren Sammy’s men possess the kind of firepower that is the envy of most teams in the competition.

Almost certainly, Ottis Gibson would have had a few things to say to his team after the India debacle – 129 for 7 from 20 overs isn’t the kind of total anyone would settle for when blessed with the likes of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Smith, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Lendl Simmons and the captain himself. Gibson, the tough-talking coach, is a hard taskmaster with little time for diplomacy. He will have stoked the egos of his awe-inspiring line-up, and if they respond with any degree of angst at all, it could mean a hard day in office for Bangladesh’s bowlers.

Not that their batsmen can expect an easy ride either, against Samuel Badree and Sunil Narine, the Trinidadian spin twins who held their own against India, and Krishmar Santokie, the bustling left-arm medium pacer who can swing the ball in to the right-hand batsman and who bowls a mean yorker even if he is not the quickest. Bangladesh has struggled for starts with Tamim Iqbal short on runs in the last 12 months or thereabouts. With the top not firing, the onus of shoring up the side time after time has fallen on the battle-worn shoulders of Shakib Al Hasan and Rahim, who will both welcome any worthwhile support they can get.

The average Bangladeshi cricket fan almost worships the national side. There is certain to be a carnival-like atmosphere outside the ground, as well as inside it, and the roof will get a mighty shake-up when the Bangladeshi national anthem is played out. Every Bangladeshi run will be cheered with gusto, every wicket taken will send decibel levels soaring. When things are going well, the crowd becomes the unofficial 12th man, its energy and enthusiasm infectious and definite to lift the team.

West Indies’ big challenge will be to silence the crowd, which will then mean it is the one calling the shots. Gayle is a particular favourite in this part of the world, as he is across the cricketing globe, but it is difficult to see the Bangladeshi supporter applaud him on Tuesday like they did on Sunday, when he first showed up on the giant screen and then when he hammered Mohammed Shami and Amit Mishra for a six apiece during what was otherwise an uncharacteristically circumspect knock.

From hero worship, the Bangladeshi fan can also turn unruly and occasionally violent when things aren’t going to his liking. Scenes of the Bangladeshi team bus being stoned when it was shot out for 58 by West Indies at the same venue to crash out of the 50-over World Cup in 2011 are still fresh in memory; the emotional extremes the fan can swing to can sometimes prove to be too heavy a cross to bear, even if it is something the Bangladeshi cricketer has learnt to live with over the last few years.

For the time being, though, Rahim will have more significant cricketing matters to address, Mashrafe Mortaza’s fitness is primary among them. With Rubel Hossain ruled out after dislocating his finger against Hong Kong, Mortaza – with a history of injuries, the latest being a side strain – is one of only two specialist pacers alongside Al-Amin Hossain in the 15-man squad. For all the emphasis on a spin-oriented attack, Mortaza’s experience is too handy a tool to pass up, though Bangladesh will have to find a way of including Sohag Gazi, the offspinner who has had reasonable success against Gayle in particular, in the playing XI.

The inclusion of Ziaur Rahman as Rubel’s replacement means finally, there is some striking power available in the middle order. Ziaur has strike rates in excess of 100 in both One-Day International and T20 International cricket, and with Bangladesh otherwise not boasting too many batsmen who can give the ball a tap, Ziaur’s finishing skills could come in handy. Some interesting calls to make for Rahim then, always mindful that the best laid plans can go awry against a team as destructive as West Indies.