Tough test for Bangladesh
MELBOURNE. — India possess the best batting line-up in world cricket and Bangladesh’s bowlers will confront their biggest challenge in the World Cup quarter-final, skipper Mashrafe Mortaza said yesterday.
Bangladesh, with a modest international record and ranked ninth, will have to find a way to bowl out or throttle India’s confident top order right down to master innings finisher Mahendra Singh Dhoni at the Melbourne Cricket Ground today.
Shikhar Dhawan (337 at 56.16) and Virat Kohli (301 at 75.25) are among the leading run-getters in the tournament, while skipper Dhoni showed his calm finishing qualities with an unbeaten 45 against the West Indies and 85 not out chasing down Zimbabwe’s 288-run target last start.
Bangladesh’s bowlers have only dismissed two sides in the tournament, Afghanistan and England, while India have taken 60 wickets in their six pool wins.
Mortaza knows the challenge ahead for his Bangladesh team if they are to bring off the biggest upset of the tournament and progress.
“Dhoni is tremendous. As a one-day batsman he’s done everything he can for India the last five six years,” Mortaza said.
“He’s a genuine matchwinner, even with Virat Kohli there. But overall I think the Indian batting order is the best in the world. It is a challenge for us.
“Tomorrow will be a high-scoring match on a flat pitch. We have to bowl well definitely.
“It is the biggest challenge to bowl to India batsmen and the Indian bowlers have been pretty good.
“I think we have to bat as well as we did against New Zealand or England or any other side.”
Mortaza said the contemporary Bangladesh team can draw little comfort from their predecessors’ revered five-wicket win over India at the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.
“2007 is a long a way past. I don’t think it’s going to help us. Even 2011 we lost, that’s not going to help us,” he said.
“Short version cricket depends on how you play on that particular day. We hope that we’ll come out with a good plan and execute our plan well.”
Today’s sudden-death match is expected to bring cricket-mad Bangladesh to a virtual standstill, with many fans planning to watch on giant screens and millions attending match-day parties.
Mortaza’s side will be guaranteed legendary status back home if they can make it to the last four.
“Back home all people were expecting that we could beat some bigger sides and go through. That was the most pressure I think,” Mortaza said.
“From tomorrow, I think the boys are very relaxed. They just want to perform on the biggest ground. They’ve played already on this ground. The boys are really excited.
“It is a very important game. In the last 15 or 17 years the people have been always with us, doesn’t matter if we win or lose, they always keep supporting us,” he said.
“Again this time from Bangladesh or those people living in Australia they always come to the ground and keep supporting us and that was amazing to see.
“I’m sure they’ll be with us tomorrow as well.
“We know that there’ll be a big crowd and most of them will be Indian supporters, but a professional cricketer I have to concentrate on cricket so have to handle it.
“Obviously, Bangladesh supporters will be there so we cannot ask for equal but we’ll be fine.”— AFP.