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

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