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Old March 24, 2007, 08:38 PM
topgun topgun is offline
Join Date: March 17, 2007
Posts: 70

there are many aspects of the game to look into. first i'd like to congratulate the lankans on a thoroughly deserving win. they did outplay us in all departments and brought us down to earth (at least some of us), and luckily did the same to india who are on the verge of being knocked out of the tournament. for the team objectives are

first, be professional like the lankans. NEVER underestimate your opponent, no need for overconfidence like some people has expressed here - mind you bermuda may have 13 or more players in their teams IF india plays its cards well, like india MAY like to hire a few umpires for bermuda, then a few crucial decisions here and there can undo our upcoming team. or who knows what indian-financed icc officials may have up their sleeves?

second, we have a better team and we know it as do bermudans and other third parties not playing. HOWEVER, bermuda like all other minnows would like to take something out of this world cup campaign. for them, bangladesh is the EASIEST team to score a victory against in this world cup (bcos we're a minnow ourselves), so EVEN if they don't win, they can try to come as close as possible to a victory with a determined, concerted effort. you never know, it's better being safe than sorry. and we should THEREFORE not tinker with our team, you know just to take it easy against the 'minnows' (dude if anything we're minnows as much as the bermudans - we got bundled out against the lankans too) or to try out a few players, this should be considered a do or die match

that being said, we MAY also like to look into the prospect of playing in the super 8's, a first for us (but hey the irish made it there too, so it's no good if we gloat over this esp against our neighbours). ALL the 7 teams barring 'B2' are known as are their "points carried forward" into that stage.
A1 Australia 2
B1 Sri Lanka 2
C1 New Zealand 2
D2 West Indies 2
A2 South Africa 0
B2 Bangladesh/India 0
C2 England 0
D1 Ireland 0

looking at that list i'll say apart from australia&south africa who are the two best teams in the tournament IMO, (and as we've already faced the lankans) we have a reasonably good chance of DEFEATING (yes, DEFEATING, not upsetting) as many as 4 teams and hence POSSIBLY even making it to the semis......

for that to happen against teams like new zealand, england and west indies (not ignoring the irish either!) we NEED a wicket-taking all-out attacking bowling line up.. unfortunately as the lankans exposed so well, we don't have that kind of a line up. ALL we have is a mashrafee murtaza, a reasonable bowler against top teams. the package of 3 slow left armers, i believe, is the best we've got like dav says, but it can be taken apart on a flat wicket, or many other wickets by top teams. it's a little too homogeneous attack, but we can't do anything about that so i'd say
INSTEAD of syed rasel who's a line/length gentle medium pacer, we should try shahadat against bermuda. that's the one and only change i'd like to see for the match. also IF dav/bashar&co likes it, they MAY want to try Aftab ahmed to roll his arm over for a couple of overs against the bermudans, it MAY provide us with an alternative to a rather same-looking armade of SLA bowlers, in the middle overs (i.e. 20 to 40 overs)

if we make it to super 8's our schedule is
31 Mar '07 Ant/Bar Australia A1
02 Apr '07 Ant/Bar New Zealand C1
07 Apr '07 Guy South Africa A2
11 Apr '07 Barb England C2
15 Apr '07 Barb Ireland D1
19 Apr '07 Barb West Indies D2

third, my own suggested lineup ONLY against bermudans (not against other top team) will be

Shahriar Nafees
Tamim Iqbal
Mohammad Ashraful/Aftab Ahmed
Saqib ul Hasan
Habibul Bashar
(Aftab Ahmed/Mohammad Asharful)
Mushfiq ur Rahim

Mashrafe Mortaza
Mohammad Rafique
Abdur Razzak
Shahadat Hussain

if we bat first

i'd ask SNafees to play the sheet anchor's role, try to play till the 40th over, keep a brisk run rate of 5/5.5 runs/over throughout

i'd ask Tamim Iqbal to play his natural game. even if he contributes zero which i hope he won't, i won't drop him because this is the type of batsman we need in our team to unsettle top teams bowling attacks, he needs all the confidence in the world. this is the best platform! just go play your own game kid!

here i'd choose either Mohammad Ashraful or
Aftab Ahmed both of whom have won us matches before, who played sensible aggressive knocks against Australia in cardiff. so choose one of them to up the ante if either tamim/nafees goes early or even within the first 20 overs, i'd expect to see either of them going up and striking a total of 150-160 maybe even (optimistically) 180, after 20 overs for the loss of 2 wickets.

in comes saqib ul hasan. i'd expect him to hit occasional boundaries but mostly milk the bowling. don't play out of your skin, i.e. don't try to be an afridi/jayasuriya when your job is to rotate the strikes and keep scoreboard ticking. if you do that, your job is done.

now, we also need to improve our running between the wickets,
1. how to steal singles by playing with soft hands rather than hitting the ball hard into the fielder's hands
2. how to convert 1's into 2's and 2's into 3's, not to mention how to convert dot balls into singles
3. how to spot the weaker and stronger fielders in the opposition team, esp. useful when (hopefully) we play the likes of aussies/kiwis/s.africans etc; those you can steal a single off, and those who'll run you out

then comes habibul bashar, from whom we expect a 40+ scores if you've enough time, or otherwise score as many runs in the middle overs as possible.
our aim should be to milk at LEAST 100 runs, but i'd expect around 120 runs off bermudan bowling/fielding in the 20 overs in the middle, i.e. 21-40 overs (those overs without powerplays)

here's the interesting choice to make, who do we have coming in now. Ashraful/Aftab? both are capable players, who should be able to tear apart bermudan bowling if they're on song. throw caution to the wind in the last 10 overs, assuming we have 7-8 wickets in hand, we can hope to score 100 runs, if we've 4-5 wickets left, a good 70-75 will be useful. no use trying to flay the ball around only to be bundled out before 50 overs, i hope our players know this by know, esp. the way we were bowled out cheaply BEFORE 50 overs by lankans.

at least a good 75+ but hopefully even a 110-120 runs is on the cards in these last overs

the rest of the batters can try their bit according to the situation.

if we bowl/field first
we've to try to bundle them out for as low a score as 100 runs, it's totally within our means.
mashrafe swinging, zipping the ball through, good pace, line/length etc
i'd much rather have shahadat here rather than anywhere/anytime else, notch up some good pace, show your mettle, and if successful with less/no extras than usual, i think he'll get a call up for the big matches

abdur razzaq, mohammad rafique, can bowl out the rest of the overs. if bermudans still don't get out, try aftab ahmed/saqib ul hasan. why aftab you may say? well it's a handy option in times of crisis, if even one of our bowlers is hammered, we've another option. but right now, we're going in with 5 bowlers bowling out 50 overs. it's a little risky imo. aftab ahmed's best figures are impressive. however, if he goes for plenty, take him out of the attack. he is a batsman, he should be content with that job by itself so no worries there too. any wickets he takes will be additional benefits, not expected of him.

and we want same fielding standards as against india but not against sri lanka, that's only because you raised the bar so high. so i'll complement our boys for such improvements in such short time periods, however it's of no use if we act like indian or pakistani fans.

lastly, have a good game.
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