Bangladesh and Ireland must lift - Ponting
Ricky Ponting believes Bangladesh and Ireland will need to improve on their group-stage efforts to be competitive in the Super Eights. Australia play Bangladesh at Antigua on Saturday and Ponting is hoping there will not be a repeat of the 2005 match at Cardiff when Bangladesh upset the world champions by five wickets.
Ponting said he was surprised Ireland and Bangladesh had progressed at the expense of Pakistan and India but he said they deserved their places. "I don't know if it makes it any easier," Ponting told the Herald Sun. "The teams that have made it through obviously deserve to get there. They have won the games they have had to do to make it through to that stage.
"I guess there are a couple of nations that have made it through that you mightn't have expected. It's just up to the other sides to make sure they play well and probably up to those smaller nations to make sure they lift their standards as well and make the games they play fairly competitive."
Habibul Bashar, the Bangladesh captain, said his side was desperate to prove they were not simply making up numbers. "That is something we don't want to be named all the time - minnows, minnows, minnows," Bashar said in The Age. "But it's natural because we've only just started beating the big teams.
"If we keep beating the big guns consistently, they will have to call us something else. We beat Australia once and that gave us confidence. We know they are not unbeatable. World Cup matches will be tougher but we have a feeling we can beat anyone now."
Bashar said having now played two Test series against Ponting's men, there would be no repeat of the 2003 tour of Australia when some Bangladesh players were over-awed by their opposition. "They are just another team," he said. "Definitely no one will be going for autographs any more."