Bangladesh taking nothing for granted
A convincing win over India notwithstanding, Habibul Bashar isn't prepared to take a Super Eight place for granted as Bangladesh play Bermuda at the Queen's Park Oval. Victory over the minnows will guarantee Bangladesh's progress - and eliminate India - but Bashar said his side wouldn't take them lightly.
"I'd be lying if I said that there is no pressure on us. Of course there will be pressure because a win would get us into the Super Eights," Bashar said. "That is why I will sit with the players today to discuss our mental preparation for the match. For us the Bermuda match will be more of a mental test than a skill related one.
"What pleases me though is the fact that the boys badly want to play in the Super Eights. After not finding the Sri Lanka-India match on TV some of the players and the coach went to the [Queen's Park] Oval to watch the game as they were very tense."
Bashar said that India's loss to Sri Lanka was keenly followed by Bangladesh. "Someone was listening to radio commentary of the game at the practice ground and the players were constantly asking the score. When the training started we became busy but as the Oval was just across the road we could hear the crowd and whenever there was a cheer coming out it worried me because it meant Sri Lanka had lost a wicket.
"I have to say we are a little relieved. Relieved because if India had won then there would not have been any realistic chance of us progressing. Now we feel we have a genuine scope of making it."
This World Cup has thrown up two surprising results early - the elimination of Pakistan and the all-but-certain exit of India. For Bashar, this was a statement of how far smaller cricketing nations had come, and he supported the tournament's format. "This is good for world cricket. It shows that cricket is expanding. We have played some very good cricket and Ireland have also qualified by playing well," he said. "It is true that if you have two groups then you get more matches and have a better chance of recovering from a bad result but those who are criticising the current format should also remember that the so-called big teams actually wanted it so that they don't have to play 'inconsequential' matches against weaker teams. If you are a top side then you should have what it takes to qualify."
In a match that has taken a different outlook altogether - theoretically, India could still go through to the Super Eights on net run rate if Bermuda beat Bangladesh - Bermuda suddenly find themselves backed by more than a billion Indian fans. "Tomorrow India is really banking on us to play well," Irvine Romaine, Bermuda's captain, said. "It is good to have that support." Bermuda posed little trouble to Sri Lanka and India, and Bangladesh eased to an eight-wicket win over them in a warm-up game.
Bangladesh had a net session at the St. Mary's College Grounds, where Abdur Razzak, the left-arm spinner, did not bowl because of a minor groin problem. Bashar said he should be okay, and was instructed not to bowl as a precaution.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Shahriar Nafees, 3 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 4 Aftab Ahmed, 5 Saqibul Hasan, 6 Habibul Bashar (capt), 7 Mohammad Ashraful, 8 Mohammad Rafique, 9 Mashrafe Mortaza, 10 Abdur Razzak, 11 Syed Rasel.
Bermuda (probable): 1 Oliver Pitcher, 2 Steven Outerbridge, 3 Delyone Borden, 4 David Hemp, 5 Irvine Romaine (capt), 6 Janeiro Tucker, 7 Dean Minors (wk), 8 Lionel Cann, 9 Kevin Hurdle, 10 Dwayne Leverock, 11 Malachi Jones.