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Mashrafe cautiously optimistic of Bangladesh progress

Mashrafe Mortaza was glad to move on with a point after their match against Australia was washed out and turned his attention to their next game against Sri Lanka in Melbourne in five days' time

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Mashrafe Mortaza, the Bangladesh captain, was glad to move on with a point after their match against Australia was washed out and turned his attention to their next game against Sri Lanka in Melbourne in five days' time.
Bangladesh are at third behind New Zealand and Australia in Group A. Given England's poor show, Mashrafe and his men have a better chance of making the quarterfinal now than when they began the World Cup. Beating Scotland on March 5 would lift the team's hopes further, but Mashrafe wanted to keep the focus on Sri Lanka, a side they last beat in 2013 and only four out of 37 times overall.
"It would be great if [beating Scotland takes us to the quarterfinals] that does happen, but we have to worry about Sri Lanka before we can think of the Scotland game," Mashrafe said. "I didn't come to the World Cup with a rigid mindset going by particular opponents. If we stick to our plans and execute properly, we can end up doing anything in a one-day match. We can win against them [Sri Lanka] if we play well. But we have to make sure we give ourselves the best chances to play our hundred percent.
"We have to win two more matches but for now we are focused on our next game, against Sri Lanka. We still have some time left to complete the remaining four matches, so it is better to think about what's in front of us. It is going to be hard to predict what might happen in the group."
Mashrafe said that the one point from the Australia game will encourage his team to do well in the rest of the tournament. He was also happy with an improvement in body language after the Afghanistan victory, which had been a point of concern following the loss to Ireland in the practice match nine days ago.
"I think earning points in the World Cup is a motivating factor," Mashrafe said. "Everyone is quite relaxed and confident, and they are prepared to play in every condition and against any opponent. We can have a good tournament if we can hold on to this attitude.
"Of course we are feeling good [gaining the point]. We don't know what would have happened if cricket was played but we wouldn't have much to lose. We wanted to play good cricket, and it would have been a great experience. It would have helped us to play the Australian pace attack, taken some confidence to the next matches. We are disappointed in this regard. But the point is very important. We should be happy with it."
Mashrafe, however, rued missing out on playing at the Gabba, which would have been Bangladesh's first outing in the venue. Since 2003, they have only played in Cairns, Darwin and Canberra. A sizeable group of Bangladeshis had also travelled to Brisbane, but Mashrafe has asked them to keep supporting his team as the tournament rolls on.
"It is very disappointing not to play at the Gabba. We were really looking forward to playing on this beautiful field. It would have helped us in the tournament, but what happened has happened.
"The fans have been really good from the time we landed in Australia. They have been supporting us. We had a decent crowd in this game too, and I am sure they will keep coming."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84