Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Heroes returning home after successful world cup mission

Tigers are returning home after a successful world cup campaign, they will reach Bangladesh tomorrow (26th April) in the early morning. BanglaCricket is welcoming the Tigers to their den and expressing gratitude for raising the image of the country.

Bangladesh team have already left London via flight number BA 145 which is expected to land at Zia International Airport at 06:10 AM. Tigers who brought immense pride for the country are expected to be received by BCB officials, former captains, journalists, and thousand of fans.

Heroes returning home.

Heroes returning home © Cricinfo

In the world cup Bangladesh managed to achieve their target to reach the super eights by toppling India at the group stage. Tigers continued their giant-killing act by defeating top ranked South Africa in the super eights encounter and eventually revived the world cup. Bangladesh also managed to defeat New Zealand in the warm-up match and registered win over Bermuda in their last group match.

Despite some poor performances, this is the biggest achievement by Bangladesh team in their cricket history. Bangladesh finished 7th in the 14 nation tournament.

After a gruelling three months long Caribbean tour in which they won the ICC tri-series and reached the top stage of the world cup, Tigers will be back on the field within a very short time. The home series against India will be starting from 10th May.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Review of Bangladesh World Cup 2007 mission in numbers

Here's a mini review of Bangladesh world cup mission in numbers.

5 :
The winning margin in wickets against India at group stage match in Trinidad

216 : Runs scored by Mohammad Ashraful and the new record for most runs made by a Bangladeshi batsman in world cup.

28 : Number of wickets taken by the spin trio of Bangladesh

5.16 : Average of Shahriar Nafees in world cup. He managed to score 29 runs in 6 innings.

3.85 : Bowling economy of Syed Rasel. He took 8 wickets at an average of 29.85

67 : The winning margin in runs against South Africa at super eights match in Guayana

318 : Highest run scored against Bangladeshi bowling line up. Sri Lanka piled 318-4 in the group stage match.

13 : Number of wickets taken by Abdur Razzak and is the new record for most wickets by a Bangladeshi bowler in world cup.

84.76 : Strike rate of Aftab Ahmed. He scored 128 runs with an average of 14.22

25 : Number of boundaries hit by Tamim Iqbal, only Ashraful hit more boundaries (27) than him.

39.00 : Strike rate of Javed Omar Belim in this world cup. He scored 55 runs in his 3 innings.

112 : Lowest total by Bangladesh in world cup 2007 (against Sri Lanka)

3 : Number of 6's hit by 3 Bangladeshi batsman (Sakib, Aftab, Mashrafee)

87 : Highest individual score by any Bangladeshi batsman in world cup. Ashraful scored match winning 87 against South Africa

4-38 : Best bowling by any Bangladeshi bowler in world cup. Mashrafe Mortaza took 4-38 against crucial group match against India.

56* : Highest score in world cup debut by any Bangladeshi batsman. Mushfiqur Rahim remained unbeaten on 56 to guide Bangladesh home against India.

9 : Number of matches Bangladesh played in world cup 2007

156.25 : Strike rate of Mashrafe Mortaza in his little cameo (25 off 16 balls) against South Africa

46 : Number of opposition wickets taken by Bangladeshi bowlers.

251 : Highest total made by Bangladesh in any world cup matches (against South Africa)

84 : Highest partnership made by Bangladeshi batsmen in this world cup. Sakib Al Hasan and Mohammad Ashraful shared a 4th wicket 84 run stand against South Africa

6 : Number of catches taken by Aftab Ahmed and Tamim Iqbal

86 : Most runs conceded by a Bangladeshi bowler in his 10 over spell in this world cup. Abdur Razzak bagged 1 wickets for 86 runs against Sri Lanka

2.20 : Ecoonomy rate of Mohammad Rafique against South Africa. It is a new record of best economy rate in a 10 over spell by any Bangladeshi bowler in a world cup match.

"Self-belief is the main difference" - Whatmore

Bangladesh coach Dav Whatmore who is set to resign after the forthcoming India series said Bangladesh has made giant strides in international cricket over the last few years and the confident and talented young players will continue to progress.

According to Dav, "self-belief" is the main difference between the current team and the previous Bangladesh.

"The Bangladeshi side of three years ago wouldn't have been able to overhaul the target of 192 (against India) or could not defend 251 (against South Africa). They have learnt to win and approach the game with a positive frame of mind" he said referring to the historic wins against India and South Africa.

Self-belief is the main difference - Whatmore.

Self-belief is the main difference - Whatmore © Getty Images

Whatmore in his first interview after taking the charge of Bangladesh said "We have to try and change that defeatist attitude. Individual improvement and collective improvement are the areas in which I am going to work on".

And he did exactly what he said and during his 4 years tenure has effectively turned a losing side into a winning outfit. He effectively instilled a new optimism and discipline to a team that had not won a single match for four years. The comprehensive transformation from the 'defeatist attitude' towards 'victorious approach' is the most significant achievement for Bangladesh cricket in years.

"It gives me a tremendous satisfaction to see a group of players who have come a long way since I joined in 2003. The team has changed and it will continue to change. It will always evolve. That's how I look at it" said Whatmore in his reaction to AFP.

"A lot of these boys are willing to work a lot harder out in the middle during difficult periods. I believe these young players will take Bangladesh to a long way".

Dav Whatmore took the helm of Bangladesh Cricket in June 2003 and will stay in charge until the end of May 2007. Upcoming home series against India will be his last series with Bangladesh.

Whatmore has led Bangladesh to 33 wins in 86 one-day internationals and also coached the side to a first ever test victory, against three draws and 21 defeats.

Friday, 20 April 2007

Dav Whatmore resigns as Bangladesh coach

After coaching Bangladesh for 4 years and leading them to World Cup Super Eights, Dav Whatmore has stepped down as Bangladesh's coach citing personal reasons.

He has decided not to renew his contract with BCB which expires at the end of April. However, he has agreed to remain in charge of Tigers until the end of May to cover the India series. This will allow Bangladesh Cricket Board to find his successor before the away series to Sri Lanka which starts in July.

Dav Whatmore quits as Bangladesh coach.

Dav Whatmore quits as Bangladesh coach © Cricinfo

Whatmore took the charge of Bangladesh after Tigers infamous debacle in World Cup 2003 and in his 4 years (he extended his initial 2 years contract in June 2005 for another 2 years) he has transformed them into one of the most exciting side of world cricket.

Whatmore has led Bangladesh to 33 wins in 86 one-day internationals and also coached the side to a first ever test victory, against three draws and 21 defeats.

Bangladesh Cricket Board in a media release expressed gratitude to Dav Whatmore for raising the standard of performance of the National Team in International cricket.

BCB also formed a six-member committee to find the successor of Dav Whatmore

Bangladesh have a point to prove against West Indies

Bangladesh is facing host West Indies in their final super eights match of the world cup at Kensington Oval in Barbados today. After losing to Ireland on last Sunday at the same venue, Bangladesh is desperately looking for a win to bow out of the world cup on a high.

Bangladesh managed a roller coaster ride in the tournament and enjoyed some glorious moments after defeating India in group stages and South Africa in the super eights. The unpredictability of the Tigers were evident in rest of the matches and loss to Ireland raised question marks about their consistency in the top fights.

Bangladesh have a point to prove against West Indies.

Bangladesh have a point to prove against West Indies © Cricinfo

Bangladesh is now fighting to avoid the bottom place in the super 8's table and skipper Habibul Bashar showed his frustration over the situation but vowed to finish the world cup with a better performance.

"We created our chances to reach semi-final by beating South Africa but here we are now fighting to avoid finishing in the last two". "We must give it our best shot to end on a high note, we must realize that we deserve a better place than last" said Bashar.

Host West Indies will try to lift the morale of the Caribbean supporters in their last two world cup matches. West Indies is already out of the semi-final race and the team management including Lara is facing harsh criticisms for the poor show from former West Indian greats.

Skipper Brian Lara who is retiring from one-day cricket at the end of the tournament, urged his team-mates to perform for the fans in their last two matches but he is not taking Bangladesh for granted. Team manager Clive Lloyd shared similar vision with Lara.

"They are a formidable side and have done well in this World Cup and they have beaten quite a few good sides in Tests so they are on their way up," said Lloyd.

"We don't take any team lightly, it's just that we haven't played quite as well as we could, our results have shown that," Lloyd added in an interview with AFP.

.Bangladesh has left out vice captain Shahriar Nafees out of the playing XI and left-arm seamer Syed Rasel, who missed the Ireland match due to last minute injury is retiring to the side.

Bangladesh is yet to win any match against West Indies in their last 12 encounters.

West Indies (from): Brian Lara (captain), Ramnaresh Sarwan, Chris Gayle, Dwayne Smith, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Dwayne Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Ian Bradshaw, Corey Collymore, Jerome Taylor, Denesh Ramdin, Devon Smith, Lendl Simmons, Daren Powell, Kieron Pollard.

Bangladesh (from): Habibul Bashar (captain), Shahriar Nafees, Tamim Iqbal, Aftab Ahmed, Saqib Al Hasan, Mohammad Ashraful, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Rafique, Abdur Razzak, Mashrafe Mortaza, Shahadat Hossain, Farhad Reza, Syed Rasel, Rajin Saleh, Javed Omar.

Umpires: Billy Bowden (NZ) and Rudi Koertzen (SA).

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Bangladesh face their first upset of world cup

Ireland dashed Bangladesh's slim World Cup semifinal hopes after an excellent all-round display handed the debutants a 74-run victory in Bridgetown, Barbados on Sunday.

With this upset win Ireland earned the 12th place in the ICC ODI ranking. The result also gave Ireland their first Super Eights win, leaving both teams on two points each and fighting to avoid finishing at the bottom of the table with one match to play.

Having earmarked the contest against Bangladesh as the one Super Eights match they could win, Ireland ensured their surprise progress to the second round at the expense of Pakistan had not been in vain.

Opening batsman William Porterfield top-scored with a chancy 85 to guide Ireland to their highest Cup total of 243 for seven after choosing to bat.

Bangladesh slumped to the bottom of the standings after they were bowled out for 169, with their top order batsmen falling to reckless shots.

Ireland's amateur players took a lap of honour and their fans danced in the stands after claiming the battle of the two giant-killers.

Bangladesh can take almost nothing from the match as they were sloppy in all departments of the game. Bangladesh must regroup before facing host West Indies on next Thursday at the same venue.

Saturday, 14 April 2007

England labour to defeat gritty Bangladesh

England overcame another nervy batting display to defeat Bangladesh by four wickets in their World Cup Super Eights match in Bridgetown, Barbados on Wednesday to keep their semi-final hopes alive.

England pacemen led by man-of-the-match Sajid Mahmood skittled out Bangladesh for 143 in the 38th over on a bouncy Kensington Oval pitch.

However, Bangladesh bowlers piled on the pressure as the new pitch slowed down before England reached 147 for six in the 45th over.

Bangladesh left-arm seamer Syed Rasel and left-arm spinners Abdur Razzak and Mohammad Rafique grabbed two wickets each to rattle England. Rasel had makeshift opener Ian Bell (0) caught at point and trapped Andrew Strauss leg before for 23.

Left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak then removed skipper Michael Vaughan for a chancy 30 before taking the prize scalp of Kevin Pietersen for 10 runs. Vaughan, dropped on five by wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim after nicking Rasel, top-edged a sweep to Habibul Bashar at short fine leg.

Veteran Mohmmad Rafiq brought Bangladesh back into the match after removing dangerman Flintoff and Ravi Boapara in the same over but at the end the total proved too low to restrict England

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Confident Bangladesh aim to restore consistency

Bangladesh want to continue their good work on the field and is not looking any further than tomorrow's all important clash against England. Bangladesh is also aiming to reduce the margin of errors in a bid to achieve their first ever win against three times runners up England at Kensington Oval in Barbados today.

Bangladesh is keen to re-establish the consistency in performance they achieved over the last 12 months leading to World Cup Cricket. Although over the period, Bangladesh consistently won against the lesser oppositions like Zimbabwe and Kenya, after recent domination over India and South Africa, Bangladesh want to repeat similar consistency against the big guns.

Confident Bangladesh aim to restore consistency .

Confident Bangladesh aim to restore consistency © Cricinfo

Bangladesh Captain Habibul Bashar is also setting consistent performance as the first target and wants to use the momentum gained after South Africa win to topple England in a bid to win a semi-final berth.

"Definitely we need to play consistent as well. We don't want to play one good game and then play three bad games. But the South Africa win has increased the confidence and morale in the team" said Bashar in his column in Bangla daily "Prothom Alo".

On paper, England is a much better outfit compared to Bangladesh but failed to perform as a team in the current world cup. Bangladesh have played better than the England and surprisingly the collective ODI experience of the squad is well ahead of England. In this world cup, Bangladesh have already won two important games against India and South Africa, England is yet to win a match against any test playing nations.

England is not enjoying their best time in ODI cricket for about a year and half. Apart from the heroics in the Commonwealth Bank Series, England's performance is well below par. England have last played Bangladesh in 2005 Natwest trophy at home and most members of the Bangladesh youth brigade is quite unknown to them.

The youthful Bangladesh side, who has won more ODIs than England over the last 12 months and after their complete domination against South Africa in Guyana, are bubbling in confidence and want to surprise England in the similar manner like India and South Africa, co-incidentally who also had no idea about most players of current Bangladesh side.

Both teams are on 2 points each after three Super Eights matches and to keep the tournament alive both side has no alternative to win all the remaining matches. After facing the likes of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, Bangladesh is ready to take oppositions who are deemed weaker in the remaining three matches. Bangladesh is yet to win a match against England and is keen to turn the table around with self-belief, aggression and enthusiasm injected into the team after toppling top ranked South Africa.

Bangladesh enjoyed familiar condition in Guyana and traditionally Barbados wickets are livelier. Bangladesh coach Dav Whatmore believes change in wicket type will not make any difference in the performance of the Tigers. He was also happy to see the lack of green on the surface.

"We've had a little look. The color is nice to look at, not too much grass on it. But there is grass underneath the surface and I think that will hold it together. It's the first time they are going to play a one-day international here so we are not entirely sure how it's going to behave but I think it's going to be okay" said Whatmore in an interview with Tigercricket.

Bangladesh has delayed naming the squad for tomorrows clash and will be waiting to see the nature of the wicket in the morning before declaring the playing XI. It is highly anticipated that Vice Captain Shahriar Nafees who was dropped for poor form, will return for Bangladesh.

England (from): M Vaughan (captain), I Bell, A Strauss, K Pietersen, P Collingwood, A Flintoff, R Bopara, P Nixon (wkt), S Mahmood, M Panesar, J Anderson, E Joyce, L Plunkett, J Dalrymple, S Broad.

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

Umpires: S Taufel (Australia), S Bucknor (West Indies)

Slow left arm army; suffocation Bangladesh style

Bangladesh is strangulating teams in the middle, strangling them with a unique army that world cricket has never seen and against all odds they are reigning in a style which no one anticipated before. The smothering influence of Mohammad Rafique, Abdur Razzak and Sakib Al Hasan is disgruntling batsmen one after another leading to their untimely demise. The guile of the web weaved by the SLA army finds helpless batsmen groping for air in the crucial middle overs. The spin trio has given Bangladesh the strength to scoff at rankings and clinically outshine oppositions under difficult conditions.

They shared 12 wickets between them in 59.4 overs giving away only 213 runs in Bangladesh's recent triumphs over India and South Africa. And this statistics only reveals a part of the influence they are imposing in every game. They have a much more astounding domination and enforce ruthless execution of their incomparable combat plan.

Slow left arm bowling is one of the most difficult arts of bowling and world cricket haven’t seen many bowlers over the years. When the art is dying in other parts of cricketing world, Bangladesh is becoming the breeding ground of world beating SLA bowlers.

Playing 3 bowlers with same bowling style might look fanciful and a dim witted decision but that’s not the case when anyone thinks about the slow left army from Bangladesh. They might share the same bowling style but each of them is unique in their way of hunting. Mohammad Rafique, Abdur Razzak and Sakib Al Hasan, the three men army have their uncanny abilities to confine the batsman with their line, loop, length and variety to impose an asphyxiating feeling. Most batsmen cannot tolerate the suffocation and eventually decease when try to break the shackle.

Wicket type, bowling first or second, quality of opposition nothing can dent the venoms of their snarling darts and they are always keen to take the fight to the opposition. Enter Mohammad Rafique, he will tie up the batsmen with his accurate rhythmical bowling, flatter trajectories and unbelievably effective armers to fool the batsmen. He uses all his experience to read the mind of the batsman and forces him to make errors. Rafique, a keen learner at the age of 37 is getting better and greener with every single match. He has set outstanding examples and high standards for the young stars around the world with his hard work and dedication.

Enter Abdur Razzak, the most versatile of the three, he will fox the batsman with his variation in flight, change of pace and ever tidy line. He possesses the lethal arm ball to flummox even the best batsman of the world like the one he used to remove Sachin Tendulkar against India. Razzak is making his presence felt within two years of arrival in international scenario and is undoubtedly one of the best ODI bowlers with his resourceful armory and breathtaking clobbers.

Enter Sakib Al Hasan, he will mix his youthful verve with unprecedented maturity to bamboozle the batsman regardless of experience. He uses his crease so beautifully to throw the venom, even the best spinner of the world will be delighted to have that ability.

It’s such a unique blend of experience, courage and youthful vim that cannot be matched by any other bowling combinations of current cricket. They complement each other and impose a synergistic effect on their collective performance to bring out the best for Bangladesh.

World have seen great fast bowlers hunting in pairs like Wasim-Waqar and Walsh-Ambrose combination, they have also seen attacking bowlers like Muralitharan and Warne. Now, for the first time they are witnessing the hunting of a spin army who strangulate the opposition and offers no mercy. This is a unique addition to cricket world and is the pivotal factor behind the emergence of Bangladesh as “giant killer” of cricket world.

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Bangladesh crush South Africa by 67 runs

Bangladesh silenced their critics in style and crushed world number one South Africa at Providence Stadium in Guyana. Bangladesh came into the match after suffering two crushing defeats in their last two games and had to justify their elevation to the Super Eights in today's match. And they did it in style by defeating top ranked South Africa by 67 runs.

The good work of Bangladeshi batsmen was equally supported by the bowlers as they emerged as the better team in every discipline with some electrifying fielding. Captain Habibul Bashar used his bowlers with excellent effect and kept the pressure on South Africans right from the beginning with very good field placements. Scoring runs seemed to be one of the most difficult jobs in the world as batsmen could not find gaps in either side of the wicket.

Chasing a victory target of 252 in 50 overs, South Africa lost their way at the very beginning by some tight bowling from Bangladeshi opening bowlers and when captain Graeme Smith fell to Syed Rasel, Soth Africa?s demise started immediately. Syed Rasel bowled with lots of variation and took the pace off to deceive Smith.

Kallis tried to steady the innings with de Villiers and lifted South Africa to 63-1 but Syed Rasel struck again and broke the partnership by removing Kallis with a gem of delivery. Bangladeshi slow left arm bowlers kept the things tight and got the reward when Ashwell prince ran himself out feeling the pressure.
Mohammad Ashraful led the Bangladesh's revival with a fine 87.

Mohammad Ashraful led Bangladesh's revival with a brilliant 87 © Cricinfo

Experienced campaigner Mark Boucher tried to break the shackle but fell to Saqibul Hasan immediately after hitting a powerful six. Bangladesh eventually took the control of the game when Justin Kemp returned a simple catch to Saqib in the very next delivery. The world number one team were reduced to 87-6 by world number 9 team and South Africa never recovered from that position and eventually bundled out for 184 in 48.4 overs conceding a 67 run defeat.

Some late strike from Herschelle Gibbs who played as no.7 batsman due to calf muscle injury could only reduce the margin of defeat.

Bangladesh used only five front line bowlers to bundle south Africa and all bowlers except Mashrafe Mortaza joined the party. Abdur Razzak was the pick of the bowlers and took 3 wickets for 25 runs. Saqibul Hasan and Syed Rasel grabbed two wickets each for 49 runs and 41 runs respectively. Experienced Mohammad Rafique was the most economic bowler and conceded only 22 runs from his 10 over and took 1 wicket. Bangladesh?s slow left arm army proved too much for the Proteas as they shared 6 wickets between them in 29.4 overs giving away only 96 runs.

Earlier, Bangladesh posted challenging 251/8 in 50 overs riding on a blazing 87 run off 83 balls by young batting prodigy Mohammad Ashraful. Ashraful hammered 12 boundaries in his masterful innings and that laid the foundation for the memorable victory.

South Africa Captain Graeme Smith won the toss and sent Bangladesh to bat under overcast conditions. The pitch was expected to offer some early assistance due to continuous rain over the last couple of days.

Bangladesh started cautiously and after a sedate opening partnership of 42 between Javed Omar (17 off 41 balls) and young Tamim Iqbal (38 off 59 balls), Bangladesh were in a spot of bother after losing captain Habibul Bashar (5) and Saqibul Hasan (9) cheaply. Mohammad Ashraful shared a crucial 87 run partnership with Aftab Ahmed in the 5th wicket to steady Bangladesh.

Aftab scored 35 runs off 43 deliveries with 2 boundaries and 2 huge sixes. After his departure a Bangladesh maintained the acceleration with a fluent 54 run partnership between Mohammad Ashraful and Mashrafe Mortaza who scored a quick fire 25 runs off just 16 deliveries with 3 boundaries and 1 six.

Andre Nel was the pick of the South African attack and took 5 wickets for 45 runs. Ntini and Kallis picked 1 wicket each but went for runs. Shaun Pollock bowled well with no luck.

Bangladesh aim to restore pride

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.

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)

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Bangladesh fans pledge support to Bashar, condemn effigy burning

After the news of effigy burning of Captain Habibul Bashar hit the world media headlines, majority cricket fans of Bangladesh are pledging support to Bashar, who is the most successful captain of Bangladesh cricket history. Bashar captained Bangladesh in 28 matches out of their 35 ODI wins. Fans also condemned the act and termed it unacceptable in terms of Bangladeshi spirit.

"We support Bashar, we are grateful to him for leading Bangladesh to the highest glory of Bangladesh cricket. This is now time to stand beside the team after two losses. We are ashamed of this stupid act by a tiny faction who did it for media attention", said an animated Khorshed Islam, who runs a small business in capital Dhaka and follows Bangladesh cricket since 1997 ICC trophy.

Most of the fans are also detaching themselves from such act and wants punishments to those people who in their words "tarnished the image of Bangladesh fans".

In a recent survey conducted by fans online discussion forum, an overwhelming majority condemned acts like "effigy burning" and pledged their support to Bashar and Bangladesh team in their super eights campaign.
Bangladesh fans pledge support to Habibul Bashar.

Bangladesh fans pledge support to Habibul Bashar © Cricinfo

Kazi Sabrina Afrin a microbiology student of Dhaka University was very critical about the act and opined that it was not done by any cricket fans.

"This is not the way Bangladesh fans react. Our team is now doing much better; we have gone through phases where Bangladesh failed to win matches in years. Fans were always beside the team. This is the act of some attention hungry people. They do not represent Bangladesh fans".

Bangladesh?s military backed government also showed its anguish over the incident and the incident is likely to be investigated. Bangladesh is now under emergency period and any procession or public gathering is prohibited by law.

Bangladesh?s win over India and super eight progress was greeted with widespread jubilation throughout the country and fans are expecting some better show from the team in the super eights stage.

"We are a bit disappointed with Bangladesh?s performance in the first two games of the super eights stage. It was difficult to win over Australia or New Zealand but we could have done better. I believe Bangladesh will certainly perform better in remaining matches and will end the world cup on a high", said Mahmood Rejwan, one of the owners of Bangladesh fan site and most Bangladesh fans will probably agree with him.

Former national players expressed their discontent and termed the incident as "senseless act". They asked the fans to show their full support to Bangladesh team.

Bangladesh fans are anxiously following the recent developments about Bangladesh coach Dav Whatmore and his desire to coach India team. Most fans want Whatmore to stay with Bangladesh team until next world cup in which Bangladesh is a co-host.

Bangladesh still has four matches left in the super eights stage and faces South Africa on Saturday at Providence Stadium in Guyana.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Bangladesh need a face lift in remaining super eight matches

Bangladesh is facing media limelight again but this time for wrong reasons. Bangladesh hit the media headlines after reaching super eights toppling “cricket powerhouse” India, everyone was praising the youth brigade of Bangladesh team for their fearless attitude.

Bangladesh’s entry into the super eight also raised criticism about the format of the game and Bangladesh had lot to prove in their toughest encounters of cricket history. After suffering crushing defeats in their first two matches, questions again started to surface about the credential of Bangladesh team to participate in the super eights.

Bangladesh’s arrival in the super eight stage could not be any tougher as they face Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, countries ranked 2,3 & 1 in the current ICC one day team ranking. The start was made more dramatic by the torrential rain which is dominating the much of the proceedings of the world cup. First, they lost the toss and sent to bat to face world’s best bowling attack under overcast conditions. Bangladesh with the experience of only one Twenty20 experience failed to execute any game plan and the youth brigade succumbed to the Aussie might. 104 runs in a 22 over match was never enough and Australia cruised to victory by 10 wickets.

Next comes the match against New Zealand, a team which Bangladesh defeated in the warm up leading to the world cup. Bangladesh again .lost the toss and sent to bat, this time top order took an overcautious approach remembering their failure against Australia. A sedating opening partnership created the pressure in the middle order and Kiwi professionalism did the rest to seal the deal. Bangladesh got hammered again, this time by 9 wickets.

Bangladesh is enjoying no luck with tosses which is playing a vital role in this world cup. Unlike previous tournaments, teams winnings tosses are sending the opposition in to utilize the early moisture of Caribbean wicket. Steady interruption due to rain is making the decision making even easier. Bangladesh likes to chase as they have won matches against India and New Zealand (warm-up match) through chasing total and with young inexperienced side, it is always difficult to post a challenging score than chasing a certain total. Bangladesh’s bowling combination can be quite a handful to restrict opposition which they proved against India. Admitting that, Bangladesh must understand, a good team always performs regardless of situation and always poses threat to opposition, which Bangladesh lacked in first two matches.

Like Bangladesh’s test status now critics have started asking questions about Bangladesh’s super eight status, the difference is first one was awarded by ICC and the second one is earned by the Tigers. Bangladesh’s next mission is against official world number 1 team South Africa. Considering current form, Bangladesh should get ready for another thumping defeat. If that happens, the noise that started to surface will be definitely converted into some bigger headlines.

Bangladesh has got only one way to prove critics wrong and that’s consistency in performance which they did in the group stage matches barring the match against Sri Lanka. Captain Habibul Bashar is admitting the problem “"Either we are playing too many shots or we are getting bogged down. We have to do something in-between”, now finding that right balance is the key to sustain and succeed at top level of cricket.

Bangladesh must regroup and face remaining four matches with a proper game plan which can executable; they must rediscover their form which they showed against India. If Bangladesh learns from their mistakes of the first 3 games, they can effectively pose serious threats in the last 3 games against England, West Indies and Ireland which are deemed weaker than their first 3 opponents.

Bangladesh repeatedly showed their discontent to call them “minnow” and desperately want to shrug it off. Now, to get rid of the tag permanently they need some sort of facelift in the remaining four matches. They need to be more competitive if not winning the matches. Otherwise, their appearance in the super eight will remain questionable and will be considered as yet another upset in cricket history.

Khondaker Mirazur Rahman is the editor of and Bangladesh editor of

Monday, 2 April 2007

Cautious New Zealand face wounded Tigers in Antigua

After getting thrashed by champion Australia in their super eight opener, Bangladesh is facing another trans Tasmanian giant New Zealand at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua today. The job of the Tigers are not getting any easier as New Zealand is the only team in the competition, except Australia with a 100% winning record.

Bangladesh brought Kiwis back to the earth after they tormented Australia in the Chappel Hadlee series prior to the world cup and that very recent memory is forcing the Kiwis to keep their feet on the ground ahead of the super eight clash.

New Zealand skipper Stephen Flemming was cautiously optimistic to ease past Bangladesh but paid respect to the potential challenge the Tigers might pose.

"They turned us over in the warm-up game and if conditions are right, they can be quite a handful," he said.

 Bangladesh must rediscover their form to challenge in-form Kiwis.

Bangladesh must rediscover their form to challenge in-form Kiwis. © Cricinfo

"The danger is complacency, under-estimating what they can do. They bowl a different length, they provide different challenges, challenges you don't get facing your own bowlers in the nets - so that's where the adjustment comes from," he added.

Apart from the in-form fast bowler Mashrafe Mortaza, Bangladesh's key weapon is their slow left arm army led by Mohammad Rafique. The spin trio has got the variation and discipline to keep things tight in the crucial middle overs to check the run flow. Bangladesh will be certainly hoping for a full 50 over match for the best utilization of their strengths.

Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar is determined to bounce back after the humiliating defeat in the curtailed opening match and promised a better show.

"We have beaten New Zealand in a warm-up game and we had a good win against India. The match against Australia was a tough one and 22 over match made the situation even more difficult. We made few early mistakes and the boys are keen to rectify those against the Kiwis" said Bashar.

"We strongly believe that if we play together, we can beat anyone" Bashar added. It shows that the huge defeat against Aussies has failed to dent the fearlessness of the young Tigers and they want to continue their hunt in the second round of the world cup.

"We had a team talk after the (Australia) match and I heard from all the boys they think, they are not finished yet. They want to do something against New Zealand to keep their tournament alive."

If Bangladesh's youth brigade can translate their optimism in the field, they have got the potential to topple the Kiwis yet another time.

Syed Rasel is likely to regain his place in Bangladesh side after Tapsh Baisya suffered a foot injury against Australia. For New Zealand, Mark Gillespie might get the nod to play his first match of the competition.


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

New Zealand (from): Stephen Fleming (capt), Peter Fulton, Hamish Marshall, Scott Styris, Craig McMillan, Jacob Oram, Brendon McCullum (wk), James Franklin, Daniel Vettori, Michael Mason, Shane Bond, Jeetan Patel.

Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pakistan), Rudi Koertzen (South Africa)