Stage is set for the "Battle of Pride" between Bangladesh and Ireland in Barbados
15 April 2007
Bangladesh and Ireland, two surprise entrants of the world cup super eights face each other in a highly anticipated encounter at Kensington Oval in Barbados today (Sunday).
Tournament debutant Ireland is yet to win a match after their heroics in sending Pakistan home from the group stage and is keen to utilize their best possible opportunity to bag a win after getting thrashed in their last match against mighty Australia.
Bangladesh is undoubtedly favorite in today?s encounter and with the slimmest possibility to qualify to the semi-final will be trying to escape any upset. A loss to Ireland will certainly mar their dream world cup run.
Toss will play a crucial role in today's match as the fast and bouncy pitch of Kensington Oval. Teams batting first regularly struggled to cope with the bounce and Ireland has got the right set of bowlers to unsettle fragile Bangladeshi batting. Return of Andre Botha from injury will further boos their bowling line up.
Bangladesh need performances from Aftab and Ashraful to overcome Irish challenge © Cricinfo
The match victory over Bangladesh at Kensington Oval would can be proved crucial for Irish cricket. A second win over Test playing nation in this tournament after the win over Pakistan in Jamaica would be enough to earn Ireland permanent one-day international status. Ireland is currently enjoying temporary ODI status for a 2 years period.
Ireland captain Trent Johnston showed full awareness about the situation and want is determined for the fullest use of the opportunity.
"When we sat down to look at the matches, we thought this was one game we can potentially win. We've got to turn it around and be up for it."
"It would mean everything; we came over here to put Irish cricket on the map, not just in the world but in Ireland as well. A win over Bangladesh will be tremendous boost for Ireland?s cricketing prospect," said Johnston.
"We don't want to disappoint ourselves and the Irish fans who have come here to watch these matches. We want to do what we did in Jamaica and send them home happy," Johnston added.
Ireland must find a way to tackle the spin trio of Bangladesh who have caused severe trouble to almost every opposition with their impeccable line and length. Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar is also banking on the spinners to overcome Irish challenge.
"Our spinners have bowled well in all conditions - they can even deliver on green tops," said Bashar.
"This is the most exciting period in Bangladesh cricket. We are focused for our last two games and hope to win both of them to finish our best World Cup ever in a befitting manner," Bashar added.
Bashar is facing widespread criticism for his poor show in the tournament and want to return to his best against relatively weaker Ireland attack.
"I am frustrated by my own batting performance, it hasn't helped the team and I have two matches to do something about it," said Bashar
Bangladesh is making no change in the playing XI which pushed England close in Bridgetown on last Wednesday.
Bangladesh (from): Habibul Bashar (captain), Shahriar Nafees, Tamim Iqbal, Aftab Ahmed, Saqibul Hasan, Mohammad Ashraful, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Rafique, Abdur Razzak, Mashrafe Mortaza, Syed Rasel, Shahadat Hossain, Farhad Reza, Javed Omar, Rajin Saleh.
Ireland (from): T Johnston (captain), J Bray, W Porterfield, E Morgan, N O'Brien, K O'Brien, A White, J Mooney, K McCallan, D Langford-Smith, B Rankin, A Botha, P Mooney, K Carroll, P Gillespie.
Umpires: S Taufel (Aus), S Bucknor (WI)