ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

Bangladesh v South Africa, Group B, World Cup 2011, Mirpur

Bangladesh wary of South African pace

Firdose Moonda in Mirpur

March 18, 2011

Comments: 58 | Text size: A | A

Bangladesh celebrate their thrilling win against England, Bangladesh v England, Group B, World Cup, Chittagong, March 11, 2011
The Bangladesh batting redeemed itself in the game against England © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Shakib Al Hasan
Series/Tournaments: ICC Cricket World Cup
Teams: Bangladesh

Of all the questions Shakib Al Hasan had to answer at his pre-match press conference in Dhaka, the one about the score was asked most often. How much would Bangladesh like to put on the board to feel safe if they bat first? How much would they be comfortable chasing? How much do they think South Africa would be looking at?

Eventually Shakib chose to answer in the simplest way possible. "If we bat first we'll have to put on a good total and if we bowl first we'll have to restrict them," he said, wiping his brow. It was probably another way of saying "I don't know" but instead of being that basic he added another line for good measure: 'I haven't seen the wicket yet so I am not sure."

Amongst all those questions the number 58 was not mentioned once, neither were any of the connotations that have come with it. Bangladesh last played in Dhaka on the day that they were bowled out for 58, by the West Indies, a loss that revealed an ugly side to fans that have been welcoming and proud of their status as World Cup hosts. Since then, Bangladesh have recovered admirably, showing that they can handle pressure by chasing 225 to beat England in a tight finish.

That's what Shakib is focusing on. "Throughout this tournament we have played well, even though people have said that we haven't batted enough." That was enough to prompt another round of numbers questions, this time about individual scores. "We've seen even Associate players score centuries at this World Cup, but not one of the Bangladesh batsman has done so," said the questioner, who stopped right there, not bothering to ask anything, just wanting Shakib to respond to what's being perceived as batting failings.

"Only Virender Sehwag and Virat Kohli have scored centuries in Bangladesh in the tournament," he said, referring to the opening match in which India put on 370 for 4. "That was a different wicket and we scored 280 in it. No other team has scored more than 250." The pitch at Dhaka is known to be tricky for batsmen, with the average score for a team batting first just 231 - a far cry from the scores in excess of 300 that recent ODIs have seen.

It's hardly the sort of surface that a batting side under pressure will look to play on. What it is is the kind of pitch that promotes character building. It's the type that will reward the man who can withstand an assault from seam bowlers and spinners, who can show patience and who can build an innings with hard work rather than come out and expect to wave his bat around like a wand to conjure up a big score.

It's also the kind of pitch that bowlers will look forward to playing on, particularly a bowling unit that has dismissed all five of the teams they have faced so far. South Africa have a 100% record in the bowling department and with the discipline and variation they have, they will want to hold on to that. It's the most varied attack South Africa ever had at a World Cup and they've kept things fluid by mixing up the combinations. They've opened twice with a spinner, rotated the bowlers creatively and bowled to specific plans.

Shakib said that although the South Africans spinners are bowling "reasonably well" it's not them that the Bangladesh batsmen are worried about. "We'll have to be careful about their fast bowlers too." South Africa have bowled Bangladesh out for 173 and 143 on this surface before, in March 2008, with seamers claiming 12 of the 20 wickets. Those may turn out to be numbers most worth concentrating on.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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Comments: 58 
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Posted by Dummy4 on (March 19, 2011, 2:25 GMT)

Bangladesh is an ordinary team. I don't know what is so special about Tamim Iqbal that everyone is bragging so much about him, he doesn't even feature in the top 20 odi batsmen. I agree that bangladesh is improving but SA will be too hot for them to handle. Their pace attack is exemplary. point 2: Bangla don't deserve to go to the knockout stages. Quarters are tailormade for the 8 test playing nations. A win or two here or there has left the bangla fans hoping a lot from these so called tigers who are still cubs and are yet to grow. But still all the best to bangla and hope their so called fierce batting order doesn't collapse as it did against the windies.

Posted by Aminul on (March 19, 2011, 2:13 GMT)

If we could score 250...we have a chance with all of our spin army...

Posted by Narayan on (March 19, 2011, 0:22 GMT)

It would be fun if Bangladesh win. Then If WI beats India by significant margin, assuming that WI bats first and puts up big score, India could be out of QF; if the victory margin is 88 runs India is would be definately out. On the other hand India's strtegy could be bat first score at very high rate and even if the score is low and they loose they will be in and England will be out. There was acase in English county game, i forget the details, one of the team forfieted the game to be sure for the play offs. India could do that and be in the QF by just surrendering to WI, and England will be out, and India will be in though at the bottom of the table. Reward of playing the game would be possibility of being at the top at a risk of getting eliminated. That's how delicate is the Group B stands.

Posted by Balaji on (March 18, 2011, 23:13 GMT)

If Tamim can bat atleast 40 overs like sehwag supported by shakib and the top batsmen in the Bang Unit, they can pull a great win, will happy to c India and Bangladesh on QF.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 18, 2011, 22:59 GMT)

Come on Bangla.... go for the kill. Keep your heads down and play with a free mind !! You have done it earlier.. do it again tomorrow !

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 18, 2011, 22:46 GMT)

keeping my fingers crossed, hopefully we will beat SAF. SAF is really good and m too worried since yesterday when England got the better of WIndies.

I still believe if BD players play to their potentials, there is at least a very competitive match on the cards and hopefully if they exceed it, BD can win it.

May Allah help BD to come over SAF test.

Posted by Sooraj on (March 18, 2011, 21:47 GMT)

Oh, My...! Why Bangladesh fans are so unrealistic? Anyone have a little bit of cricket knowledge knows man-to-man BD is no where near SA or even South Africa - A team. Barring a miracle, it will be hard to see BD winning. I would be really happy for BD to win which would give meaning to the last match too (IND Vs WI). But then again, if they win, still please accept it as a miracle. BD has to go a long way before considering a win against any of the 8 other test playing nations to be considered as an (even 30%) expected result. Again this comment is not because I am not a BD supporter, but just being realistic.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 18, 2011, 21:21 GMT)

This is from a Bengali in kolkata to all our Bengali brothers and sisters across the man made border, go make all Bengalis proud. Let the Tigers roar and show the true colors. Best of luck from every1 from kolkata.

Posted by K M on (March 18, 2011, 20:27 GMT)

One simple suggestion for BD, watch out for simmers, and play 50 overs, BD will win without worry.

Posted by Andy on (March 18, 2011, 20:18 GMT)

No chance in hell that "paper tigers" beat SA.. funny what names ppl give to teams.

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