Saturday, 31 March 2007

Australia blow away Bangladesh by 10 wickets

Australia made light work to see off Bangladesh in their rain affected super eight encounter at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua. After restricting Bangladesh to 104-6 in 22 overs, Australia raced to the victory in just 13.5 overs without losing any wicket. Wet outfield caused by overnight rain forced a curtailed match of 22 overs a side.

In-form Aussie opener Matthew Hayden remained unbeaten on 47 runs and his opening partner Adam Gilchrist scored a fluent 59 runs in 44 balls in the 106 run partnership. Bangladesh wasted the only opportunity when young wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim misjudged an outside edge from Gilchrist of the bowling of Tapsh Baisya which went for a boundary.

Glenn McGrath led Australia to 10 wicket victory.

Glenn McGrath led Australia to 10 wicket victory © Cricinfo

Australia made a terrific reply and raced to 50 in just 6.4 overs, spinners reduced the run flow but failed to cause any damage in the Australian innings and they reached the target with more than 8 overs to spare.

Earlier, a disciplined bowling display from Australia led by Glenn McGrath restricted Bangladesh to a meager 104-6 in the stipulated 50 overs. McGrath took 3 wickets for 16 runs to reduce Bangladesh to 25-3 and Bangladesh never recovered from that position.

Bangladeshi top order batsmen played too many shots too early and that caused their downfall. Dashing opener Tamim Iqbal was first to go when he was deceived by a slower from Nathan Bracken. McGrath immediately removed Shahriar Nafees by a beautiful Yorker and Bangladesh lost the momentum required to post a competitive total.

Aftab Ahmed and Mohammad Ashraful played some beautiful shots but failed to carry on and went cheaply which effectively blown away the opportunity to crate any upset against Australia.

Habibul Bashar played a patient innings of 24 taking 43 balls which slowed Bangladesh progress remarkably. A 36 ball 25 from Saqibul Hasan and some late hitting from Mashrafe Mortaza lifted Bangladesh score to 104.

Nathan Bracken continued his impressive form in the tournament and picked 2 wickets for 20 runs, Shaun Tait who was the most expensive among Australian bowlers picked 1 wicket for 28 runs.

There were plenty of drama and uncertainty before the start of the match as overnight rain resulted in a wet outfield with a number of patchy areas. After an unscheduled delay of about 5 hours and six bouts of inspection the match was finally started at 14:30 local time (18:30 GMT) and was curtailed to 22 overs a side.

Two big quagmires on the boundary's edge were the main area of concern for umpires in every inspection. Poor ground management and lack of initiatives from WICB caused resulted in longer delay than expected.

First, the ?super sopper? broke down and then the grounds men lacked resources to make the field ready for play. Some ground staff even tried to soak water by jumping on pieces of sponges. The efforts were inadequate to say the least and as the sun was shining and there were good wind, the field was finally left to the nature?s will to dry up.

Fearless Bangladesh ready to face rampant Australia in Antigua

An intrepid Bangladesh begins their world cup super eight campaign against in-form Australia today at Sir Viv Richards Stadium in Antigua. Bangladesh team has shown no intention to succumb to the fear factor of facing raging Australia and are determined to pull off another surprise like they did in Cardiff in 2005.

Current holder Australia is back in its best after drubbing tournament favorites South Africa and West Indies in previous two matches. On the way to the record hattrick world cup crown they are aiming to brush Bangladesh aside while Bangladesh camp has shown a lot of character ahead of the clash and are ready to embrace the champions. Australia has scored over 300 runs in their last six ODI and they 83 run defeat they inflicted on South Africa is the lowest margin of their victory.

 Fearless Bangladesh ready to face rampant Australia.

Fearless Bangladesh ready to face rampant Australia © Cricinfo

After Australia captain challenged the oppositions to put them in after winning toss, Bangladesh captain Bashar vowed to follow their own game plan to interrupt winning trot of the Aussies. Bashar insisted that Bangladesh will make the life of the world champion's difficult to secure the win.

"We're not finished yet, it is not going to be easy; it will be very tough. But we believe it is not an impossible task. We had a good win against New Zealand, another against India - and we strongly believe that if we play well together on our day we can beat anyone" said Bashar in an interview with Prothom Alo, a Dhaka based daily.

The youthful Bangladesh wants to enjoy their game against the tournament favorites and feeling no pressure ahead of their toughest encounter of the tournament. Mohammad Ashraful, the hero of Cardiff win against Australia promised positive cricket on the field and Mashrafe Mortaza, the center point of Bangladeshi bowling vowed to unsettle the dominant Aussie top order to take the command. These optimisms can only show the part of the morale of Bangladesh team who qualified to the super eight after toppling India.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting rubbished speculations of a Cardiff replay and believes the cricket they are playing will be good enough to outperform Bangladesh. Australia in current form can easily demolish the young Bangladesh side but taking them lightly can turn into a costly affair as Bangladesh has already established them as the "Surprise Packet" of the tournament.

Australians are a bit concerned about the batting form of Michael Hussey and he may get a promotion in batting order in today's match. Bangladesh is most likely field the same team that played against India.

Australia (probable) Adam Gilchrist (wk), Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds, Mike Hussey, Shane Watson, Brad Hogg, Nathan Bracken, Glenn McGrath, Shaun Tait.

Bangladesh (probable) Shahriar Nafees, Tamim Iqbal, Saqibul Hasan, Aftab Ahmed, Habibul Bashar (captain), Mohammad Ashraful, Mushfiqur Rahim, Abdul Razzak, Mohammad Rafique, Mashrafee Mortaza, Syed Rasel.

Umpires - Aleem Dar (Pakistan), Billy Bowden (New Zealand).

Friday, 30 March 2007

Ponting Wary of Improved Bangladesh

Australian captain Ricky Ponting showed his awareness about the potential challenge from a youthful and improved Bangladesh in their super eight clash at Sir Viv Richards Stadium in Antigua on March 31.

Ponting admitted that Bangladesh has made a dramatic progress in their cricketing ability over the last couple of years and they can pose significant threat to major oppositions.

"Bangladesh has progressed quite dramatically, they could have almost won the first Test match over there (last year )", Ponting said recalling the memories of famous Fatullah test in Bangladesh.

According to Ponting the young Bangladesh side can only progress upwards from their current position and they are in the right direction under Dav Whatmore.

 Fans cheering Bangladesh win against Australia in Cardiff.

Fans cheering Bangladesh win against Australia in Cardiff. © Cricinfo

"You just have to look at some of the younger guys in their side now, and see how they played against India early on, they're definitely a nation on the way up, and they've got good, exciting young players. Dav Whatmore is doing a fantastic job with them," added Ponting while talking to AAP ahead of Bangladesh tie.

He particularly picked dashing opener Tamim Iqbal as one of the most aggressive player of Bangladesh side and Australians are analyzing his strengths and weaknesses to get him cheaply.

"The young left hander (Tamim Iqbal) who got 51 early on in the tournament looked particularly aggressive and we've got some footage."

Australians have a lot of knowledge about the young Tigers as two of their coaching staff worked with Bangladesh U-19 squad with current bunch of players. Australians are using their experience to find out tactics to tame the Tigers.

"(Centre of Excellence senior coach) Richard McInnes and (Australia strength and conditioning coach) Justin Cordy worked with a lot of the Bangladeshis when they were over there so we have a bit of information on them."

Bangladesh will be banking on the memories of toppling Australia in Cardiff in 2005 and after qualifying from group of death they are keen to progress further.

There are no injury worries in Bangladesh side and they have declared 12 men squad for the Aussie clash and included young exciting fast bowler Shahadat Hossain for the first time in the tournament.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Bangladesh fans want Whatmore to Stay until 2011 World Cup

Bangladesh is celebrating their historic success in the World Cup 2007. After defeating India in their World Cup opener, people all over Bangladesh celebrated the Tigers success in jubilant mood. Their celebration reached a peak when Bangladesh defeated Bermuda in the final group match to reach the second stage for the first time in their cricketing history.

Dav Whatmore took the helm of Bangladesh Cricket after their infamous debacle in world cup 2003. In his 4 year tenure with Bangladesh, he completely transformed a losing lowly Bangladesh side into a much competitive cricketing nation. Bangladesh registered 32 of out their 35 ODI wins under Dav Whatmore.

Like the world media, most of the fans acknowledge that Whatmore is the man behind the resurgence of Bangladesh cricket and want him as Bangladesh coach until the 2011 world cup in which Bangladesh is a co-host. Whatmore's current contract with Bangladesh expires in June.

 Bangladesh fans want Whatmore to stay until 2011.

Bangladesh fans want Whatmore to stay until 2011 © Cricinfo

In a recent survey conducted by fans online discussion forum, more than 70% of participants want Whatmore to stay until next world cup while about 20% want him for at least another 2 years. This is a clear indication of the current frame of mind of Bangladesh fans.

"Whatmore is doing a good job with the team so far and he has changed the atmosphere of the dressing room. He has earned respect and love among Bangladeshi fans," said Shahriyar Rahman, who lives in Canada and is a passionate follower of Bangladesh cricket.

His voice was echoed by Borhan Zabed, a company executive in Bangladesh: "Dav has got the vision to take Bangladesh a long way. He is in the middle of moulding Bangladesh into a world beating side. We need his service for another 3-4 years to reach the level of top teams".

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is also taking initiatives to keep him after the world cup. "He is doing a fantastic job with Bangladesh. He is in contract with us until June this year and we are in the process to review it. Hopefully he will stay with Bangladesh Cricket," said a top (anonymous) BCB official while talking to a national Daily Shamokal.

Fans are concerned about recent interest from Indian media about Dav Whatmore as India coach. Whatmore was linked to Indian hot seat before Gregg Chappel took the charge and Whatmore eventually renewed his contract with Bangladesh in 2005.

"India is desperately looking for a coach to replace Chappel. Whatmore is definitely in their short list. I want BCB to act faster and make arrangements so that Whatmore stays with Bangladesh Cricket", said Raihan Mahmud, a Dhaka University student while celebrating the Bangladesh success with thousands of students. Everyone in the crowd supported him and chanted slogans for Dav Whatmore.

After reaching super eight stage of world cup, Ahmed Bashir a moderator of BanglaCricket, summed up the current emotion of Bangladesh fans, "I want him to stay as long as it takes him to Take BD among the top-4 teams in the world!!"

In the current scenario, Whatmore is definitely under media spotlight but he is concentrating on the rest of the world cup mission of the Tigers. He is not getting overjoyed by his boys super eight progress and believes Tigers can produce more surprises in the second round.

World cup success is nothing new to Whatmore, in his previous world cup mission; he guided Sri Lanka to world cup glory. Bangladesh fans believe he can lead Bangladesh to the same glory in 2011 world cup and desperately want Whatmore to stay with Bangladesh.

'Bangladesh Has The Right Combination' – Dav Whatmore

Bangladesh coach Dav Whatmore believes his Tigers can surprise the stronger teams in the Super Eights and has a bright future ahead. He expressed his satisfaction with the overall progress of the team leading to the World Cup and was in jubilant mood after the Tiger's World Cup success. Bangladesh will be starting their second round campaign against Whatmore’s home country Australia in Antigua.

Before the start of the World Cup, Whatmore termed his team as the “Surprise Packet” of the tournament and after defeating India and progressing to second round; Bangladesh is looking forward to creating more surprises.

"It's a terrific combination, young boys are enjoying their game and are keen to produce more surprises in the super eight”, said Whatmore pointing out the exuberance and fearless nature of his youth brigade in an interview with AFP. “We've got a couple of more experienced players, but the vast majority of them are under 25, which is absolutely perfect for an emerging team like us”, Whatmore added.

Whatmore was particularly happy that his boys are getting the opportunity to prove their worth against the top teams of the world. "They now have an absolutely wonderful opportunity to play against seven of the world's best sides and they will grow enormously because of that experience. I understand that we are still ranked number nine in the world and have a long way to go before we are consistently challenging the big boys”.

"But we've got the resources and talent to really progress and we will be going to the Super Eights to really enjoy ourselves. And from a personal point of view it's great to be in a position where your team is playing well and your methods are being validated," said Whatmore who was the mentor of Sri Lankan resurgence at the 1996 world cup.

Whatmore also showed his satisfaction with the approach of the Bangladesh team in the crucial match against Bermuda which they won by 7 wickets despite some early wobbling.

"I thought the last game against Bermuda was an extremely difficult one and the boys did brilliantly to keep their focus," said Whatmore. "I know we were only chasing a small total [96], but the ball was doing all sorts of things out there in the first ten overs, and it took a very brave batting performance from the middle order to get us through”, he added.

"They've never really been in that situation before, with so much on the line and with so much to lose. This is very significant for us. It's something we always believed we could do if we played to the best of our ability and had a little bit of luck”.

Within the Super Eights, Bangladesh was the first team to arrive in the Caribbean to play a tri-series involving Bermuda and Canada at Antigua. Whatmore believes this early arrival helped Bangladesh to understand the Caribbean condition and was crucial for their group stage success.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Super eight preview : Bangladesh aiming to surprise elites

Bangladesh finally managed to live up with their expectation and started an astounding world cup campaign to reach the super eight. After qualifying from “Group of Death” featuring India and Sri Lanka, Bangladesh is now looking forward to make big strides and establish themselves within cricket elites.

It was a wonderful display of all-round cricket from Bangladesh under the guidance of coaching prodigy Dav Whatmore. Bangladesh utilized every little opportunity they got in the Caribbean to build a perfect momentum before the start of the World Cup. If defeating New Zealand in pre world cup warm up matches was a noise in the world media, defeating India in their world cup opener created a tsunami in.

Bangladesh is appearing as a completely different outfit to most of the cricket pundits who were not following the steady progress of the young Tigers over last couple of years. Indians were caught in surprise by the professional display from the Tigers and had no clue to resist the onslaught. Bangladesh had a bad game against Sri Lanka who is enjoying their premium form in the tournament. Apart from that, Tigers were beaming in confidence in every moment they were on the field. They held their nerve in the crucial rain affected final group match against Bermuda to seal the second round berth.

Now, after reaching super eight stage, Bangladesh must continue the momentum going in their way. Bangladesh achieved the super eight spot with sheer performance and now its time to utilize that platform to launch the much anticipated world beating campaign.

 A spirited Bangladesh aiming to startle the elites.

A spirited Bangladesh aiming to startle the elites. © Cricinfo

Apart from experience, Bangladesh has hardly any limitation as an ideal ODI outfit. They have a unique opening combination in which young Tamim has got the courage and ability to tear any bowling apart and despite group stage failure, Shahriar Nafees is a fine player to steady the innings. Sakib Al Hasan and Mohammad Ashraful is enjoying fine form and complementing each other in the middle order. An explosive Aftab Ahmed at no. 3 and experienced campaigner Habibul Bashar can be a headache to any opposition captain.

If anyone is not impressed by the batting strength of Bangladesh, bowling department will make an impact in everybody’s mind. Mashrafe Mortaza with his disciplined but aggressive bowling can rip in through the top order and young Syed Rasel with controlled seam movement can stop the run-flow even during the power play. Next comes the prime strength of Bangladesh team which many top teams will dream to have. A very tidy slow left arm army led by evergreen Mohmmad Rafiq can effectively dry out the run flow in the middle overs, a unique formula to succeed in ODI. They all effectively complement each other and have their own unique style to tame the batsman.

And finally, the fielding of the Tigers have taken giant strides to reach world standard. They are setting examples for other teams with brilliant catches and equally impressive ground word. It’s completely a team stitched together with seamless spirits and self belief. On the field, young Tigers have father figure Rafique and ever smiling Captain Bashar to lead them and off the field Dav Whatmore is there to instill self belief to bring out the best.

Hardly any other team in the super eight has such fearlessness and spirit as a team. Now, if anyone thinks that it is not enough to tackle the elites, just ask the Indians, they realized it dearly than anyone else.

The hard work of Dav Whatmore which was supported by a very professional cricket board and a visionary selection panel is paying dividends at the very right time.

Young Tigers are enjoying every moment of their success.

Young Tigers are enjoying every moment of their success. © Cricinfo

Bangladesh will be playing six matches in the super eight stage against oppositions who have not played Bangladesh for a while. This is an huge advantage for Bangladesh to pull off few surprises. Bangladesh managed to defeat New Zealand in warm up and India in the group stage as they were not aware about the level of threat Bangladesh can pose. They have never played against most these young boys who are ready to enjoy their game and take the opposition to the wire. Except West Indies, none of the Bangladesh’s opponents in super eight have played Bangladesh in last 2 years and Bangladesh have progressed in leaps and bound over this period. Bangladesh is ready to take advantage of this surprise shock to make super eight stage even more successful than group stage.

In naked eye, Bangladesh’s prospect in the super 8 might look bleak and upsetting teams like Australia and South Africa might appear fanciful but current Bangladesh is eager to prove critics wrong. They have already done it once in the world cup and ready to propagate it in the second stage. The young Tigers have already showed their discontent about branding them minnow and they are keen to put a final nail in the coffin of the tag they were carrying for a long time.

Bangladesh has very realistic chance to pluck 3 wins out of their 6 group 8 matches. At current form they easily match with out of form England and inconsistent West Indies while a significant gap exists between Ireland and Bangladesh.

Bangladesh has strongly made their point in the group stage and came as a survivor from group of death eliminating India. Despite their impressive run world media is not yet ready to accept them in the bigger stage. Bangladesh is aiming to answer the queries on the field and is determined to startle the elites, yet another time

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Bangladesh storm into "Super Eights"

angladesh cricket team stormed into the super 8 of ICC Cricket World Cup by defeating Bermuda by 7 wickets at Queens Park Oval in Trinidad. With this win Bangladesh joins Sri Lanka to Super 8 and eliminates pre-tournament favorite India from the World Cup.

Bangladesh Cricket has reached a new height today as they reached the second round of World Cup for the first time in history. This is the biggest ever success for Bangladesh Cricket.

This historic win came as the Independence Day gift for 150 million Bangladeshis.

Chasing a revised target of 96 for victory in 21 overs, Bangladesh did not start well as opening bowler Saleem Mukaddem ripped through the Bangladesh top order and reduced Bangladesh to 37 for 3. He bowled with good line and got tremendous assistance from the wicket. Runs were hard to come and some indiscipline bowling from the other end kept the score board ticking.

Bangladesh storms into the super 8.

Bangladesh storms into the super 8 © Cricinfo

Bangladesh batsmen kept their nerve and an unbeaten 59 run fourth wicket partnership between Mohammad Ashraful and Sakib Al Hasan guided Bangladesh to victory in 17.3 overs. Mohammad Ashraful top scored with 29 runs in 32 balls and Sakib Al Hasan was equally prolific in his 35 ball 26.

The match was not that easy for Tigers as the scoreboard is suggesting. After quick loss of 3 wickets Bangladesh were under immense pressure as ball was moving around and Bangladeshi batsmen were struggling to score runs. The arrival of Mohammad Ashraful changed the scenario as he efficiently found the gap and formed the useful partnership with Sakib Al Hasan. The pair finally guided Bangladesh home with 3.3 overs to spare. Mohammad Ashraful was adjudged Man of the Match for his assured 26 run.

Saleem Mukaddem of Bermuda took all the 3 wickets fell and finished with an impressive figure of 3 for 19 in 5 overs.

Earlier, rain dominated the proceedings of the crucial group B tie between Bangladesh and Bermuda at Queens Park Oval. Bangladesh restricted Bermuda to 94 for 9 in the rescheduled 21 over match and requires 95 runs in 21 overs to reach super 8.

It was more than drama in Trinidad today as players were on and off the field at natures will and finally rain allowed the match to resume after 4 unscheduled rain breaks. The start of the match was delayed by one and half hour due to morning shower.

Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar won the toss and decided to field first. Bangladesh got the desired result in the 5th ball of the match when paceman Mashrafe Mortaza removed Outerbridge for 0. After the first rain break, both Bangladesh opening bowler took one wicket each to put Bangladesh in firm command of the match.

After another painstaking rain delay of another 1 hour, play resumed and the match was initially curtailed to 30 overs a side. Rain again interrupted play at 15.1 overs when Bermuda was 45 for 4. Play remained stopped for another 2 and half hour and the match restarted as a 21 overs affair.

Bermuda had only 5.5 overs play left after the resumption of play. Wickets fell regularly but Bermuda have utilized the opportunity with some brief but effective hitting from DA Minors and Lionel Cann to lift themselves to 94/9 utilizing full 21 overs. Cann took only 6 balls to make 16 with 2 fours and one six.

A poor over from part-timer Aftab Ahmed which costed 17 runs boosted Bermuda innings

Abdur Razzak was the pick of the Bangladeshi bowler. He took 3 wickets for 20 runs in his 4 overs. Saqibul Hasan and Mashrafe Mortaza took 2 wickets each for 8 and 12 runs respectively.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

"Bangladesh is taking nothing for granted" - Bashar

Bangladesh camp is much relieved after Sri Lanka trounced India by 69 runs to revive Tigers world cup dream. Now they face a relatively straightforward task of beating Bermuda in their last group match to reach the main stage of the gala event.

Bangladesh Captain Habibul Bashar showed cautious optimism about his side's progress to the super 8 but is not taking super 8 berth for granted while talking to TigerCricket, official site of Bangladesh Cricket Board.

"Bangladesh came to the world cup with the target of reaching super 8. We had our game plan which worked against India. Now after India's loss to Sri Lanka we have a genuine chance of reaching our target", said Bashar.

He also showed his relief due to the outcome of India-Sri Lanka match. "I have to say we are a little relieved because if India had won, then there would not have been any realistic chance of us progressing."

Bangladesh camp closely followed the proceedings of yesterdays match during their training session. After the scheduled session, they went to the Queens Park Oval to watch the action live. Bangladesh team including Coach Dav Whatmore appeared much reassured during the live broadcast after watching India's tame surrender to Sri Lanka

Bangladesh is on the verge of realizing their world cup dream.

Bangladesh is on the verge of realizing their world cup dream. © Cricinfo

Both India and Sri Lanka created world cup records to brush aside Bermuda in their group B encounters and Bangladesh also outplayed them in recently concluded ICC tri series. But Bashar admitted that this time his side will be under pressure to face Bermuda.

"I'd be lying if I said that there is no pressure on us. Off course there will be pressure because a win would get us into the Super Eight of the World Cup. That is why I will sit with the players today to discuss our mental preparation for the match. For us the Bermuda match will be more of a mental test than a skill related one."

"On the other hand, Bermuda has nothing to lose and they will try to finish the world cup with a high", Bashar added.

Bangladesh Captain is relying on the exuberance of his youth brigade to outshine Bermuda. He is also pleased with the attitude of the young tigers despite suffering massive defeat in their last match against Sri Lanka.

"What pleases me though is the fact that the boys badly want to play in the Super Eight. After losing to Sri Lanka, they were really tensed. After India's loss to Sri Lanka, they are keen to make super 8 a reality."

Bashar urged a spirited performance from his young guns in the next game against Bermuda. "We still have a job to do. We are not thinking about the Super Eight yet. We need a committed and spirited performance against Bermuda and that is our main focus. We are taking one game at a time," Bashar added.

Bangladesh camp is a bit concerned about the fitness of left arm spinner Abdur Razzak who developed a minor groin problem during Sri Lanka clash.

Bangladesh will play Bermuda in the last match of the group stage on 25 March at Queens Park oval

Ruthless Lions revive Tigers world cup dream

ri Lanka showed another clinical display on the field to see off media favorite India and stormed into the super 8 of the ICC cricket world cup. Sri Lanka crushed India's super 8 dreams by defeating them by 69 runs.

Sri Lanka's convincing win over India revived Bangladesh's super 8 dream and they just need to win the match against Bermuda to reach the second round of the world cup. Considering the form of the two teams it should not take much effort from Bangladesh to defeat Bermuda.

This loss will be come hard to billions of Indian fans as before the tournament they were highly tipped as one of the favorites to lift the cup. India's demise started from the first match of the tournament when a below par performance resulted in an unexpected 5 wicket loss to Bangladesh. India?s departure will also mean huge loss to the sponsors and television companies as India is the main revenue earning ground for cricket.

Rampant Lions revive Tigers world cup dream.

Ruthless Lions revive Tigers world cup dream © Cricinfo

Sri Lanka was completely dominant in todays match and never allowed India to play their normal game. They batted well, fielding was extra ordinary and Indians had no answer to their controlled bu aggressive bowling attack.

Chasing a victory target of 255 to win, India started well but once they lost Uthappa, India started to derail. Chaminda Vaas took an outstanding catch of his own bowling to dismiss Uthappa. India lost wickets regularly and was never on the track since then. former Captains Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar failed to rise to the occasion fell cheaply for 7 and 0 respectively. In the middle Sehwag and captain Rahul dravid tried to resist the Sri Lankan dominance but Sehwag eventually fell to a brilliant Murali doosra. When Murali trapped Dhoni for a golden duck, 255 looked completely out of reach for India.

 Indians had no answer to the Murali magic.

Muralitharan led the hunt for Sri Lanka. © Cricinfo

Indian Captain Rahul Dravid tried his best to steady to the innings but found no one to give him company. At the end he desperately tried to keep the tempo with the ever increasing run rate and took 17 runs from Malinga's eighth over. He had to play his shots to have any chance in the match and that eventually caused his down fall. After getting a life courtesy of Arnold, he fell in the next delivery when he tried to clear the in field. Muttiah Muralitharan took a superb catch covering a lot of ground.

After Dravid's departure Harbhajan Singh made an desperate attempt with a 20 ball 17 but that could only reduce the margin of the defeat. Finally India got bundled out for 180 in 42.1 overs.

Muralitharan was pick of Sri Lankan bowling attack and bowled brilliantly to take 3 wickets for 36 runs. Another veteran Chaminda Vaas removed both the Indian openers and finished with 2 for 39. Malinga, Fernando and Jayasuriya took one wicket each in a aggressive bowling display from Sri Lanka.

Earlier, Indian captain Rahul Dravid won the toss and decided to field first. In a seaming wicket Indian bowlers bowled with aggression and accuracy and restricted Sri Lanka's run flow. Jayasuriya fell cheaply in the deep of Zaheer Khan?s bowling but Tharanga kept his cool and rotated strikes nicely to keep the scoreboard ticking. He formed useful partnerships with Sangakkara to reach his 50. After his departure two brilliant innings from Tilakaratne Dilshan and young Chamara Sillva steadied Sri Lankan innings in the middle. Some late hitting from Chaminda Vaas took Sri Lanka's total to a commanding 254. Zaheer Khan was the most successful Indian bowler ended with a figure of 2 for 49. Agarkar, Patel, ganguly and Tendulkar chipped in with 1 wicket each.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Inspired Bangladesh ready to face Sri Lanka

A confident Bangladesh will face tournament-favorite Sri Lanka in a crucial group B tie at Queens Park Oval, Trinidad and Tobago today. The match is scheduled to start from 9:30 AM local time (13:30 GMT).

After defeating another pre-tournament favorite India in their cup opener, Bangladesh is looking for their youth brigade to deliver again to overcome experienced Sri Lankan resistance.

Bangladesh will be looking for a win in a bid to seal the second round berth while Sri Lanka is poised to continue their winning streak. Both team enjoyed success in their opening match and are in suitable position compared to group mate India who are in a spot of bother after conceding defeat in the opening match.

 Inspired Bangladesh ready to face Sri Lanka.

Inspired Bangladesh ready to face Sri Lanka. © Cricinfo

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardane paid respect to the emerging Tigers and promised a disciplined display on the field to outshine Bangladesh.

"They had a great win against India, but we play our games differently," he said.

"We do want to give a lot of respect whatever the opposition we play," he said. "(But) we knew if we play to our potential ... the brand of cricket that we play, it will be in our favor."

Bangladesh Captain Habibul Bashar is also expecting a tougher resistance from Sri Lanaka and termed them as a very professional side.

"Sri Lanka plays as team in the middle. They have got experienced player and is a much disciplined team compared to India. We know our task will be harder this time but we are ready to face the challenge" said Bashar.

Current Bangladesh coach Dav Whatmore who guided Sri Lanka to cup glory in 1996 believes his young boys have the potential to overcome Sri Lankan challenge. He is also keen to seal the second round berth before the final match against Bermuda.

"The young boys have made a lot of difference. They are willing to work a lot harder out in the middle during the difficult periods," he said.

He is also hopeful that the Tigers will continue the good work and keep the momentum going, "We've to show that we can't be taken lightly and if we win against Sri Lanka, we are through," added Whatmore.

Although there were reports of some heavy rain yesterday, weather forecast shows no further rain today. Winning toss might prove vital as the wicket is expected to have juice in the early hours of play.


Sri Lanka (from): DPMD Jayawardene (captain) RP Arnold, MS Atapattu, CM Bandara, TM Dilshan, CRD Fernando, ST Jayasuriya, KMDN Kulasekara, MF Maharoof, SL Malinga, M Muralitharan, KC Sangakkara (wicketkeeper), LPC Silva, WU Tharanga, WPUJC Vaas

Bangladesh (from): Habibul Bashar (captain), Shahriar Nafees, Tamim Iqbal, Aftab Ahmed, Saqibul Hasan, Mohammad Ashraful, Mushfiqur Rahim (wicket keeper), Mohammad Rafique, Abdur Razzak, Mashrafe Mortaza, Shahadat Hossain, Tapash Baisya, Syed Rasel, Rajin Saleh, Javed Omar.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Tigers aiming to tame Lions

After stunning the world cricket by a professional performance against India in the world cup opening match, Tigers are now preparing themselves to repeat similar performance to outshine Sri Lanka.

The confidence is running high in the Bangladesh camp and they are eager to continue the momentum they achieved after arriving in the Caribbean. Since their arrival, Bangladesh have won all the matches they played which includes two memorable wins against title contenders New Zealand and India.

Tigers first match against India was a testing ground for them who weren't playing top teams for about a year. After showing their might against the star-studded India, Bangladeshi think tank is optimistic to outperform Sri Lanka and take the revenge of their World Cup 2003 loss against the Islanders.

Bangladesh came to the Caribbean with the aim to achieve a second round berth and after defeating India, the possibility of progressing to the second round is very bright. Now a win against Sri Lanka can seal the deal and make the India - Sri Lanka tie on March 23 as the do or die clash.

Bangladesh coach Dav Whatmore is keen to ensure the second round berth before the final match against Bermuda, as net run rate can be a crucial factor if Tigers fail to beat Sri Lanka.

After a full day rest on Sunday, Tigers returned to their training on Monday and relished every bit of their success during the training session. The boys looked sharp on the field and they enjoyed their practice in the centre wicket of the Queens Park Oval.

 Tigers aim to tame Lions.

Tigers aiming to tame Lions. © Cricinfo

Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar showed his optimism but was aware of the situation before facing the Sri Lankan Lions.

"We are concentrating on one game at a time. We had certain advantages against India as they have not played us for a while but that's not the case against Sri Lanka. We played Sri Lanka in the last year at home and also in the Champions trophy", said Bashar.

"We are playing good cricket, every member of the team is contributing and are in a positive frame of mind. We want to win the match to ensure our second round place. We have defeated them before and are optimistic to repeat the performance", added a smiling Bashar.

Bangladesh team is basking in media lime light after outplaying India in their tournament opener. Coach Dav Whatmore believes this will create a positive impact in the performance of the Tigers on the field.

"The boys are enjoying their success, they have earned the attention they are receiving from the media. After defeating India, they are no longer afraid of any names. It is important to keep that belief and continue the winning momentum," said Whatmore.

Meanwhile, more Bangladeshi fans are arriving in Trinidad every day to follow Tigers dream world cup mission. The first destination for the die-hard supporters is Trinidad Hilton where the Tigers are staying.

Bangladesh team has no reported injury problem and is expected to play the same team that won their first match against India.

Sunday, 18 March 2007

Aftermath of historic win: Tigers are keeping feet on the ground.

Bangladesh camp was in jubilant mood after the historic win against India in their world cup opener at Queens Park Oval, but they refused to get carried away with the win. The tigers are aiming to take one match at a time to fulfill their world cup target which is a second round berth.

After Mushfiqur Rahim hit the winning run in the famous victory, the Tigers enjoyed every minute of the triumphant victory. Everyone was on their toes jumping, singing and shouting. Sources close to Tigers reveal that, they were confident of this win long before the match started in Trinidad. This only shows the confidence level of Bangladesh after defeating former world champions.

Tigers are keeping their feet on the ground after historic win.

Tigers are keeping their feet on the ground after historic win. © Cricinfo

The wonder boy Mushfiqur Rahim said "I hope, this is the last time media uses the word 'minnow' for Bangladesh" the post match presentation, The tone of the dressing room was nothing different.

According to captain Habibul Bashar, Tigers early arrival in the Caribbean and in particular the tri-seris at Antigua gave them a much needed edge over India.

"We have adjusted to the wickets here and know exactly what to expect. We were the first team to arrive in the Caribbean and the warm-ups in Antigua and Barbados have certainly helped," said Bashar.

The confidence of Bangladesh team was echoed by vice-captain Shahriar Nafees who is one of the key figures of Tigers recent success.

"The pressure is on them but we don?t really care. In fact most of the boys do not even bother about reputation of the opponents. This is not something enforced; it has come from within,"

 Manjural Islam Rana was remembered in Tigers win.

Manjural Islam Rana was remembered in Tigers win © CricketWorld

"The boys were walking tall, enjoying tall and training tall", he added.

The memory of Manjural Islam Rana was all over the place in the victory celebration of the Tigers.

Man of the match Mashrafe Mortaza recalled the memory of friend Late Manjural Islam and said "This one's for (Manjural) Rana" and "(Manjural) Rana's death have shattered us but we were keen to win the match for Rana". "He was my best friend. I dedicate today's man of the match award to (Manjural) Rana,"

"(Manjural) Rana would have been so proud. I'm sure he's watching us from above," said Bashar who admitted that he had difficulty sleeping the night before the match as Rana's face kept appearing in his thoughts.

The young Tamim Iqbal who was a revelation against India was in top mood after his heroics.

"I just forgot that I had been hit. I don't think I could have continued for long if I had let that thought get to me. It was a good ball and that's about it," said Tamim.

When asked about his on-field bust up with Munaf Patel, Tamim promptly replied "He (Munaf Patel) said something and I told him some things too,"

The Tigers enjoyed a rest day on Sunday and only went for a light swimming session. Tigers will face Sri Lanka in their next match on March 21.

"It is a great victory for Bangladesh cricket" - Bashar

Bangladesh Captain Habibul Bashar termed yesterday's historic win against India as a great victory for Bangladesh Cricket. He was understandably very happy with the way the Tigers brought down India with a superior display in all departments of the game.

"It is a memorable day. The boys have done a very good job today. It was difficult to know what to do so it was a good toss to lose. I think we would have had a bowl first anyway because we always thought it would do something in the first overs", Bashar said in the post match presentation.

Bangladesh restricted star-studded Indian batting line up to a modest 191 with a much disciplined one day bowling which was equally supported by agile fielding by the young Tigers. He had all sorts of praise for his bowlers -

Mushfiqur Rahim and Mohammad Ashraful bask in the glory of the victory.

Mushfiqur Rahim and Mohammad Ashraful bask in the glory of the victory. ©Cricinfo

"I was very happy with how we bowled. Because we only have two seamers we knew we had to get a breakthrough with the new ball and they did that. Mushrafe (Mortaza) did a great job, as did Syed Rasel. After that the spinners came to the party and did a terrific job as well".

Three young Tigers with an average age of 18 led the Bangladesh reply in batting and Bashar acknowledged their invaluable contribution which ensured Bangladesh win.

"When you are playing a team like India you always have to work hard for it. So in all I was delighted with how we batted. Tamim Iqbal got us off to a great start and after that Mushfiqur Rahim and Saqib al Hasan took it up and made sure we won the match", said Bashar who could not hide his enjoyment with this emphatic win.

Jubilant Tigers enjoying moments of glory.

Jubilant Tigers enjoying moments of glory. ©Cricinfo

However Bashar was not overjoyed by the situation, he was very clear about the ultimate goal of Bangladesh team which is a second round berth.

"This is a World Cup victory and it is great for us. It gives us a real chance of qualifying for the Super Eight stage. I think it is a great victory for Bangladesh."

Bashar eventually dedicated the win to Manjural Islam Rana who was killed in a tragic road accident on March 16.

Saturday, 17 March 2007

Bangladesh declares emergence crushing Indian hopes by 5 wickets

Bangladesh made history today by defeating pre-tournament favorite India by 5 wickets in their world cup opener in Queens Park Oval, Trinidad.

Bangladesh bowled out India's star studded batting line up to a modest 191 on a good batting pitch which at the end proved inadequate to restrict Bangladesh, the emerging powerhouse of cricket world. Bangladesh romped to the victory by 5 wickets with 9 balls to spare.

 Bangladesh stun India by 5 wickets.

Bangladesh stun India by 5 wickets. ©Cricinfo

Bangladesh made the perfect start to overcome Indian challenge when left-handed rookie opener Tamim Iqbal, three days short of his 18th birthday, smashed a 53 ball 51 with 7 boundaries and 2 sixes. He showed brilliant maturity with aggressiveness and balls started to disappear all over the park.

After his departure fellow left hander Sakib Al Hasan (53 of 86 balls) took the charge and formed a match deciding 84 run partnership with wicket keeper Batsman Mushfiqur Rahim (56* of 107 balls). Indian bowling had almost no answer to their calm and assuring batting. Mushfiqur Rahim was promoted to the batting order after early departure of opener Shahriar Nafees and he steered the Tigesr home through scoring the winning run.

With this win, Bangladesh made a significant progress to reach the second round of world cup while India faces a stern challenge to qualify. They must win the remaining two matches against group mate Sri Lanka and Bermuda to remain alive in the tournament.

Bangladesh made Indian batting and bowling ordinary and outperformed India in every discipline of the game.

None of Indian bowlers except Munaf Patel posed any threat to Bangladeshi young batting line up. Munaf removed danger man Tamim and Aftab Ahmed. Patel finished the game with a figure of 39-2. Lately Sehwag chipped in with couple of wickets but it was too late for the Indians.

Bangladesh dedicated this win to fellow Tiger, Manjural Islam Rana who was killed in a tragic road accident on 16 March.

Earlier, Bangladesh restricted India to 191 in their opening match of world cup in Trinidad. Indian long and experienced batting line up had almost no answer to an aggressive and disciplined bowling display from Bangladesh.

Only former captain Sourav Ganguly and Yuvraj Singh showed some resistance and scored 66 and 47 respectively to add some respectability to the total. India was all out in 49.3 over. Indian Captain Rahul Dravid won the toss and decided to bat first. Bangladesh took no time to prove the decision wrong when their opening bowler Mashrafee Mortaza removed out of form Sehwag in his second over and in form Robin Uthappa to reduce India to 21-2 in 6.4 overs. Experienced Sachin Tendulkar tried to repair the Indian innings with former Captain Sourav Ganguly. But scoring runs looked one of the most difficult job in the world.

Bangladesh kept the pressure on India with tight bowling and equally inspiring fielding. When Razzak in his first over removed Sachin, Indian hope of making big score looked a far cry. Captain Rahul Dravid tried to steady the Indian innings with a 32 run partnership but eventually fell to Mohammad Rafiq who trapped him LBW in his very first over. In-form Yuvraj joined with Ganguly, they played with caution and posted a vital 85 run partnership in the middle. Once Razzak removed Yuvraj, Indian innings disintegrated immediately. Ganguly was next to follow and then Rafiq and Razzak caused the havoc in the Indian innings as they lost 5 wickets scoring only 2 runs. At one point India was struggling at 159/9 but a 32 run partnership in the last wicket frustrated Bangladesh and add some valuable runs to Indian total.

For Bangladesh, Mashrafee Mortaza was the pick of bowlers with a figure of 4 for 38, Slow left arm spinner duo, Abdur Razzak and Mohammad Rafiq shared the rest 6 wickets with figures of 3-38 and 3-36 respectively.

Bangladesh plays their next match on 21 March against Sri Lanka while India will take on Bermuda on 19 March.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Dravid wary of Bangladesh

Indian captain Rahul Dravid is well aware about the potential challenge from their group mate Bangladesh against whom India would be opening its cricket World Cup campaign at Trinidad and Tobago.
"We respect Bangladesh. We saw what they did against New Zealand. We've got to be at our best to escape any upset," Dravid said at a press conference on Tuesday after a training session at the Sir Frank Worrell Ground in the University of West Indies.

Bangladesh completed a triumphant World Cup warm-up campaign and is confident ahead of World Cup cricket in the Caribbean. After gaining an unlikely victory over the rampant Kiwis, the Tigers are highly satisfied with their overall preparation.

Dravid also recalled the defeat against Bangladesh in December 2004. After defeating World Champions Australia in the Nat West Trophy in June 2005 in England, Bangladesh also defeated Sri Lanka in February 2006.

Dravid is expecting professional performances from his team mates to overcome Bangladesh challenge. ?I would like to approach India's World Cup opener as the final itself,? he added.

Bangladesh ?India group B tie on March 17 at the Queens Park Oval has attracted huge interests from the spectators and is already sold out.

"Batting Is The Key Against India" - Aminul

Bangladesh's first world cup captain Aminul Islam believes Bangladesh can outperform India and they must take the advantage of relatively weaker Indian bowling.

"Our batting will be the key against India. They must take advantage of a slightly weaker Indian bowling attack. If we can upset either India or Sri Lanka, we can progress to the second round," observed Aminul Islam while talking to the journalists. Aminul is currently in the Caribbean to watch Tigers in action.

Aminul was also critical about India's poor show outside the sub-continent. He added "India will be playing outside their comfort zone. Their away record is not as great as their home record."

While he was in optimistic tune, he also found some weaknesses of Bangladesh team which their sub-continent rivals might exploit.

"The team has specialist players but lacks all-rounders, an essential feature of one-day cricket and it appears more like a Test outfit," opined Aminul. "Our bowling also lacks variation as both the spinners are left-arm spinners," he added.

Aminul also feels the team lacks an experienced pinch hitter. "Bangladesh lacks someone who can score a quick-fire 30 or 40 in the end to force the scoring rate, like Lance Klusener did for South Africa in the 1999 World Cup. However we don't have one. This might prove crucial while chasing high scores."

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Bashar Issues Warning To Opponents

Bangladesh skipper Habibul Bashar showed his calmly confidence about Bangladesh's world cup prospect in the ICC media conference. He believes that his side would be more than a match for their group mates from the sub-continent, India and Sri Lanka, when they play the group matches on 17th and 21 respectively.

"In one-day cricket, anything can happen. So we want to take our chances. Let's see what happens," observed Bashar. After beating New Zealand in the warm up match, Bangladesh have put India and Sri Lanka on a high alert. Indian Captain Rahul Darvid echoed Bangladeshi Captain and vowed to play their best to overcome potential challenge from Bangladesh.

Bashar was well aware that both India and Sri Lanka, placed alongside them in Group B, are playing fine cricket and would be difficult to beat. But, he is anticipating that his young side will do everything to propel themselves to the second round.

"They are playing very good cricket, but we have played them often enough to know of their strengths and weaknesses. There is no discernible weakness though but we are quietly confident," he added.

Bashar was keen to point out the factors which are working to his team?s advantage at the moment. "We have some decent spinners and as everyone feels the wickets here are going to be a help to them, I think we have an advantage in that area. We then have quite a few batsmen who have experience and promise and who are determined to do well," said Bashar. He believes the batting line up of Bangladesh with Shahriar Nafees, Aftab Ahmed, Sakib Al Hasan and Mohammad Ashraful can produce surprises in the world cup.

Sunday, 11 March 2007

Confident Bangladesh Raring To Go

After a triumphant World Cup warm-up campaign, Bangladesh team is boozing into confidence ahead of World Cup cricket in the Caribbean. Bangladesh is looking forward to start the world cup in style when they meet India on 17th Match at Trinidad.

After gaining an unlikely victory over the rampant Kiwis, the Tigers are highly satisfied with their overall preparation. The team Management believes Bangladesh is hitting the peak of their form in very right time. Now, if they can cope with similar situations in the main stage, they can claim their entrance ticket in the elite league and shred off the minnow tag.

After taking Bangladesh coaching job in June 2003, Dav Whatmore always insisted in turning the Tigers’s fate around. While talking to the media at Barbados, Whatmore maintained the same stance.

"It's important for Bangladesh to win as many (matches) as we can. Against a good opposition like New Zealand, the win was terrific for us," Whatmore told the journalists waiting to hear from the mentor of Sri Lnakan renaissance in 2003 World Cup.

"We're ranked ninth ... and most judges around the world would expect the opposition to beat Bangladesh every time there is fixture.”

"(But) we're improving all the time and I just feel it's becoming more of a reality that Bangladesh might cause an upset or two." Whatmore added.

While Whatmore used the word Upset, his captain Bashar was more confident in his approach. "Before we came here for the World Cup nobody gave us a chance. That's fine for people to say, but we are looking at getting to the second round”.

"The morale of the team is very high. Everybody is in a positive frame of mind and that gives me a lot of confidence. "This time we are a team in a real sense. We have a reliable batting side and a good bowling side as well," captain Habibul Bashar added.

It is the belief that Whatmore succeeded to instill in the mindset of the young Tigers and it’s paying the dividend in the very right time.

Bangladesh is placed in the Group B along with two World Champions India and Sri Lanka and amateur Bermuda. Bangladesh enjoyed one day success against both world champions in their last home series which further bolstered their confidence. They are also enjoying a psychological edge over group rival Sri Lanka who suffered defeat in the hand of the Black Caps in the warm up match.

Bangladesh enjoyed a consistent build up in momentum over the last two years and earned crucial victories against World Champions India, Sri Lanka and finally Australia. They also enjoyed a 64.24 percent success rate in one day internationals in 2006, only Australia managed a better record (71.42).

Whatmore also believes the inroads made by the current crop of Bangladesh players will go a long way towards creating a world beating team in the near future. "They've got potential to do that. They've got 150 million people in the country and all the kids there want to play cricket for Bangladesh," said Whatmore.

"Just like India and Sri Lanka we've got the base there from which to draw from ... the future is bright."

Bangladesh has successfully uprooted their defeatist attitude and created a winning habit over the last one year. With Whatmore and his Captains in optimistic tune, Cricket pundits are also expecting an upset or two from the cricket fanatic country.

Saturday, 10 March 2007

Bashar Happy With World Cup Preparation

Bangladesh completed a near perfect preparation for their world cup challenge. The Tigers are aiming a second round berth ahead of either Sri Lanka or India. After winning the ICC tri-series involving Bermuda and Canada at Antigua at a canter, Bangladesh made the full utilization of the two warm up matches. In the first warm up match against New Zealand, they silenced their critics by an amazing two wicket win. Bangladesh showed impressive Kiwis. Bangladesh comfortably outplayed Scotland in the second and final warm up match by 7 wickets.

With everything going on according to plan, Bangladesh Captain, Habibul Bashar expressed his satisfaction about the overall preparation of his team ahead of the gala event. He repeated his optimism to reach second round while talking to the media after the second warm up match against Scotland.

“I have to say I am very satisfied with our preparation. We bowled and fielded well in both warm up matches and the batting has been impressive throughout. We did lose two early wickets in the second match but once again the middle-order never allowed any pressure to set in” said Bashar who is undoubtedly the most succesful captain of Bangladesh cricket history.

He further added “Everyone is in touch and that gives me a lot of confidence. The World Cup matches will be a different ball game but if we can continue doing what we are doing at the moment then we can be a pretty tough opposition for any team”.

According to Bashar, the victory against New Zealand was a morale booster for the team as it was their first match against a top quality team after the ICC champions trophy. "Before we came here for the World Cup nobody gave us a chance. That's fine for people to say, but we are looking at getting to the second round. With Tamim Iqbal and Mashrafe Mortaza playing so well, this is a great boost for the World Cup. Their contributions were brilliant. We will do one thing, that is play positive cricket," said confident looking Bashar.

Bangladesh is now anxiously waiting to know the injury status of Aftab Ahmed, one of their batting mainstream. He suffered an apparent muscle injury in the waist while batting in the second warm up match and had to leave the field on streture.

Sunday, 4 March 2007

Bangladesh A in England : Tushar Imran Leads the Fightback to Draw the Second A Team Test

Captain Tushar Imrans patient knock of 126* ensured a draw for Bangladesh A in the second unofficial test match at Bogra. Rain washed out the play of the first day. Earlier, England A utilized the damp condition and bundled out Bangladesh A for paltry 152 runs. England A seized the opportunity and posted 251/8 at the end of day 3. Nick Compton continued his fine form and scored a classy 92 run to lead the charge.

England A declared overnight with a lead of 99 runs. At the beginning of Day 4, Graham Onions took to early wickets to put England A in firm command of the match. Captain Tushar Imran and one down batsman Nasiruudin Faruque rescued Bangladesh A with a valuable 127 run partnership. After losing Faruque for 31 runs, Tushar Imran continued to demoralize English attack despite regular wicket fall from the other end. His endurane finally gave the timely reward and the match ended in a draw.

England A won the first test by wickets and win the series 1-0.

Brief Score

Bangladesh A 152/10; Sagir Hossain 47, Enamul Jr. 24 ; Stuart Broad 4/72, Tim Bresnan 2/24 & 218/6 Over -84 ; Nasiruddin Faruque 31, Tushar Imran 126*; Tim Bresnan 2/36, Graham Onions 2/53

England A 251/8 (dec) Over -81 ; Nick Compton 92, Matthew Prior 37, Steve Davies 39; Mosharaf Hossain 2/59, Enamul Jr. 2/65

Saturday, 3 March 2007

Wolrd Cup Cricket 2007 : Bangladesh is aiming the launch of a world cricketing force

The memories of World Cup cricket brings some mixed impressions to the mind of Bangladeshi cricket fans. Before gaining full member status Bangladesh fought strenuously to feature in the world stages and only succeeded in 1999 after winning ICC trophy 1997 by defeating Kenya.

Bangladesh’s arrival in the World Cup cricket created more noise than expected. After narrowly defeating Scotland at Edinburgh, Bangladesh emerged as the better team in the famous clash against Pakistan at Northampton although the result has subsequently been masked in mystery.

Bangladesh hit their lowest in International Cricket at World Cup 2003. A hapless Bangladesh suffered hammering defeats against all oppositions including amateur Canada.

Bangladesh opted for Dav Whatmore, the mentor of Sri Lankan renaissance after the world cup to turn the fate around. Dav succeeded largely to make Bangladesh a more competitive side and earned crucial victories against World Champions India, Sri Lanka and finally Australia. Bangladesh received an unofficial breathing space of 10 months in 2006 when they only featured against minnow countries except ICC Champions trophy. It seemed to work for Bangladesh as they have won 17 out of 20 matches they have played against Zimbabwe, Kenya and Scotland.

Now, another world cup cricket is knocking at the door. Bangladesh is placed in group B along with Sri Lanka, India and Bermuda in the Caribbean edition of World Cup. Bangladesh has already reached the Caribbean and building up the momentum before playing the gala event. They started their campaign well after winning the tri-series involving Canada and their group mate Bermuda.

Most cricket pundits are taking it as quite obvious that Bangladesh will take the same fate like two previous outings where they failed to propel themselves beyond initial stages. On the other hand, Bangladesh is going to this world cup with a completely different frame of mind. For the first time, they are expecting to lift themselves to the next round. Their maverick coach Dav Whatmore and captain Habibul Bashar have already made their intention public.

Now, to progress into the second round ahead of either Sri Lanka or India might look fanciful but not impossible. Bangladesh is becoming a good ODI outfit and has good record behind them over the last one year. The only problem is the difference of level of cricket they played over this period and World Cup. Bangladesh achieved the confidence from their successes against relatively weaker oppositions. Now for world cup success; they have to use that confidence to change the gear in their pursuit of winning a second round berth. They have potential and players to realize their astounding dream. The big question remains whether they will be able to change the level of cricket and translate potential into performance?

But in Shahriar Nafees, they have uncovered an opener who is more than capable of the anchor role with controlled aggression required to allow the likes of Mohammad Ashraful and Aftab Ahmed to extravagance the batting display. They are taking a gamble with boom boom Afridi style opener Tamim Iqbal who can turn the match around in his days and can be destructive in small Caribbean grounds. Captain Habibul Bashar and young all-rounder Sakib Al Hasan are hitting the form in right time. Inclusion of former U19 captain Mushfiqur Rahim as wicket keeper gave the side much needed balance in batting.

Mashrafe Mortaza and Shahadat Hossain are providing a little of the new-ball pace and aggression they lacked for years. The slow left arm army of Bangladesh are keen to exploit the slow surfaces expected in the West Indies. Mohammad Rafiq and Abdur Razzak are two world class spin bowlers and Sakib Al Hasan is becoming increasingly confident in his bowling. The lack of variation is a real worry against spin maestro nations like India or Sri Lanka, still they have got the much needed disciplines of one day bowlers.

Having said these, it is highly probable that Bangladesh will make early exit from the world cup but taking them lightly will turn the world cup dream of one of the title contenders into nightmare. Photo : Tigers have to do everything right on the field for WC success.

The truth about Bangladesh cricket is undeniably that their paramount is becoming more visible after each and every series. A young side with average age of 22 and so much potential can only get better. A country with 150 million population and crazy fan base for cricket will be a powerhouse of world cricket in time. Bangladesh is rescheduling their emergence time every year and will be required to do so until they frame a standard domestic infrastructure. Until then, patience is the key with perseverance and discipline. Whatmore, or one of his successors, will need ample more of that endurance before the incentives become evident. Before reaching that mark, they have to do everything right on the field and expect others to make mistakes to extract some gold on the way.

Bangladesh is aiming to fight hard to realize their dream. Whatever happens to their world cup endeavor, they want to send one clear message about the emergence of a new powerhouse of cricket and use the world cup as the launching pad of a world beating force.

Bangladesh Cricket: Where Do We Stand Now?

Bangladesh started their campaign in international cricket with a 22 run victory in a low scoring match against Fiji in 1979 ICC Trophy. After playing 41 ICC trophy matches with mixed success (26 wins, 14 losses, 1 no result) and an equal number of ODIs with even less success (3 wins - Pakistan, Kenya, Scotland and 38 losses), Bangladesh was awarded test status in June, 2000.

Bangladesh played first ever test match in November 2000 against India at Bangabandhu National Stadium. After gaining test status they played 44 test matches with a solitary win against Zimbabwe and lost as many as 39 matches. We enjoyed some reasonable successes in ODI and managed 25 wins out of 102 outings.

Awarding test status to Bangladesh is one of the most heavily criticized decisions of ICC and Bangladesh still remains under the microscope of cricket pundits as a test nation.

After obtaining the elite status Bangladesh suffered hiccups with religious regularity raising constant concern about the future of Bangladesh cricket.

After the infamous debacle in 2003 world cup, Bangladesh cricket went for a major overhaul. Dav Whatmore, the mentor of Sri Lanka's resurgence in world cricket was handed the coaching job to lift the sinking Bangladesh cricket. He took charge in June 2003 and since then Bangladesh started to make slow but steady progress in both forms of the game. The improvement is more noticeable in the shorter version of the game (25 wins in 72 matches) compared to the test matches (1 win, 3 draws in 25 matches).

Dav appeared to find success in injecting some confidence in the struggling team.
Bangladesh's cricketing success in 2006 is considered as an indication of definite improvement in the right direction. After taking world champions Australia to the wire at Fatullah test in April, Bangladesh ended 2006 with 18 wins on their side out of 28 ODI appearances. While current achievement is encouraging, the end of Bangladesh’s misery against the top teams remains largely to be seen.

The Bangladesh team is still fragile and can suffer regular defeats against quality oppositions. The success against quality oppositions in ODI's is not really consistent. Apart from the wins against Zimbabwe and one win each against Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Australia, we lost all other matches and in many cases without putting up a tough fight. In test matches, the results are even worse. Except for the Fatullah and Multan tests, we continued our failure in taking initiatives and struggle predictively.

According to Dav, the mentor of the team, Bangladesh has a bright future in international cricket and he has already found the core nucleus of the team. It might be true for the ODI but for tests it is still a far cry.

Bangladesh as an ODI team has quite a few quality players in Shahriar Nafees, Aftab Ahmed, Mohmmad Ashraful, Abdur Razzak, Mohammad Rafique and Mashrafe Mortaza. Captain Habibul Bashar largely failed to translate his test form into ODI arena. Sakib Al Hasan and Shahadat Hossain are two promising talents who have been slowly but surely establishing themselves into international cricket.

While the bowling strength of the ODI team shows palpable improvements, a brittle middle order continues to expose the batting limitations. A capable opener alongside Shahriar Nafees at the top with some improvements in the middle together with a competent wicketkeeper batsman can push the limits of any ODI team.

The picture looks gloomier in the longer version of the game. Apart from Shahriar Nafees and Habibul Bashar in batting and Mohammad Rafiq and Mashrafe Mortaza in bowling, we really don't have players to challenge quality opposition, let alone winning. Habibul Bashar scored about one third of all the runs Bangladesh scored in test cricket while Mohammad Rafique took more than one third of all the wickets Bangladesh took in test matches he played.

These simple stats only illustrate the poor show by the rest of the players. Bangladesh showed some encouraging performance in the four tests they played in 2006 but always crumbled under pressure. We almost won a test match against mighty Australia though Mohammad Rafiq's determined fight saw futile end due to the familiar lack of support.

In batting, Bangladesh must find suitable alternatives to veteran Javed Omar, Alok Kapali and Tushar Imran. Neither of them returned enough to keep the faith on and their inclusions make the fragile test batting even more brittle. Mohammad Ashraful must improve his consistency to keep his place in the side.

Aftab Ahmed has so far failed to take the responsibility of test batting. And the rookies Sakib Al Hasan and Farhad Reza lack technique and experience to seal a deal. Rajin Saleh looks gritty at times but again lacks both consistency and technique which cost Bangladesh dearly in some matches. Like the ODI team, Bangladesh must find a decent wicketkeeper batsman.

As mentioned previously, bowling is a major concern in our test side. Apart from Mohammad Rafiq no single bowler has the bite to their bowling to win test matches. Enamul Huq Jr. is a very good bowler but still lacks wicket taking ability against quality oppositions, more so on foreign grounds. Mashrafe Mortaza's success in ODI never really translated in tests mainly due to his fitness problem. There is some real hope in Shahadat Hossain who showed the aggressiveness required to be a successful test bowler. The situation looks even ominous unless someone comes up in style and takes the candle from aging Rafiq on time.

The overall situation might look depressing but it is the painful reality. In this situation the ray of light is the young generations who started playing competitive cricket knowing that one day they will feature for Bangladesh in tests. These young players have dominated their counterparts in age group level and they believe they can continue dominating them in the world arena.

They are declaring their emergence in the domestic circuit as well. It is really encouraging that we have emerging players in almost every discipline. Bangladesh Cricket Board has already taken initiatives to improve domestic infrastructure and formed the Cricket Academy for potential young players. Now, it’s very important to guide and nurture them properly before throwing them in the deep. They are the ray of light, the future of Bangladesh cricket.