7 April 2007
After getting thrashed by Australia and New Zealand in first tow matches of the super eights, Bangladesh is facing top ranked South Africa at Providence Stadium in Guyana today. Pressure has mounted on Bangladesh to justify their inclusion in the super eights stage after two consecutive below par performances.
After reaching super eights by toppling India, Bangladesh thought that they will win few more matches in the super 8 stage but things are not going as planned. They have managed only 104 and 174 against Australia and New Zealand to concede humiliating 10 and 9 wickets defeat.
In both matches Bangladesh batted first and virtually lost the game before the end of their innings. Bangladesh have a formidable bowling line up but batsmen failed to rise to the occasions and now Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar is urging top order batsmen to perform better.
Bangladesh aim to restore pride © AFP
Guyana, the venue for todays match could provide an ideal opportunity for them to put up a much-improved performance. The hot and humid nature of Guyana weather is quite similar with sub-continents and pitches have traditionally been slow and low, similar to the ones in the sub-continent. Bangladesh need to post some decent total to give a chance to their slow left arm spinners to exploit the conditions. Proteas batting line up has records of having problems against quality spinners.
South Africa captain Graeme Smith is not taking Bangladesh lightly but has already expressed his desire to avoid Australia in semi final. South Africa needs to win all their remaining matches against the likes of Bangladesh, West Indies and New Zealand to make that happen.
Both Bangladesh captain Bashar and coach Dav Whatmore promised a better display and asked the Tigers to learn from their mistakes in previous two games.
"We just have to pick up our game and we still have four matches left. We will go out thinking we can win those games. The goal is not to repeat the mistakes of the last two matches," said Bashar who also suffered criticism in Bangladesh for his poor show on the field.
"I have faith in my players. They have showed in the past that they can beat any team on their day," added Bashar.
Bashar also insisted that Bangladesh team is not getting distracted due to coach Dav Whatmore's interest in India job.
"He has been working very hard with us and has given no indication that he's not enjoying himself," said Bashar.
"I don't want to talk too much about his thoughts. It's purely for him to decide. But our performance shows what kind of hard work he has put in."
Bangladesh have included Shahadat Hossain in the 12 man squad in place of Tapash Baisya who suffered ankle injury in previous match. Andre Nel may return for South Africa to reinforce the pace attack.
Bangladesh (from): Habibul Bashar (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Aftab Ahmed, Saqibul Hasan, Mohammad Ashraful, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Rafique, Abdur Razzak, Mashrafe Mortaza, Shahadat Hossain, Syed Rasel, Javed Omar.
South Africa (from): G Smith (captain), J Kallis, L Bosman, M Boucher, AB de Villiers, H Gibbs, A Hall, J Kemp, C Langeveldt, A Nel, M Ntini, R Peterson, S Pollock, A Prince, R Telemachus.
Umpires : M Benson (England), B Doctrove (WI)