India were knocked out of the World Cup on Sunday after Bangladesh beat debutants Bermuda in a final Group B match to reach the Super Eights.
India, the 1983 champions and finalists four years ago, were condemned to their earliest exit since 1992 when Bangladesh clinched a seven-wicket win in the rain-marred match at Queen’s Park Oval.
Bangladesh progressed beyond the opening round for the first time after reaching a revised target of 96 with 21 balls to spare. Bermuda had scored 94 for nine in a match reduced to 21-overs-a-side.
Sri Lanka, champions in 1996, topped the group by winning all three of their matches while India were eliminated after managing only one victory.
Bangladesh, who upset India last week, simply needed to avoid defeat to reach the next stage with Sri Lanka.
The Indians were relying on Bermuda to cause an upset to sneak through on a better net run rate.
Having been favourites to win the match, Bangladesh skipper Habibul Bashar admitted the celebrations had been rather low key on Sunday.
”It is not like India [when we were overjoyed], we are more relieved now,” he said.
Coach Dav Whatmore praised the side for their fighting display in tough conditions, with bad weather causing four stoppages in the match.
”This is very significant for us,” he said. ”I thought it was very difficult to wait all day against a team we had to beat and beat well.”
Bermuda chartered accountant Saleem Mukuddem handed Bangladesh the early jitters and India a sliver of hope after picking up three quick wickets in seaming conditions.
Mukuddem (35) returning after a one-match suspension on disciplinary grounds, reduced the innings to 37 for three in the eighth over as Bangladesh chased in gloomy conditions.
However, Saqibul Hasan (26 not out) and Mohammad Ashraful (29 not out) took their chances to guide their team into the next round, leaving India to catch an early flight out of the Caribbean.
Mukuddem finished with three for 19 after a sharp five-over spell.
Bermuda’s amateur players had to battle through the elements as they tried to maintain their rhythm on a sodden pitch.
They made a brave scramble by scoring 49 runs in the final six overs.
Bermuda player Oliver Pitcher was taken to hospital after banging his head on the ground attempting a running catch in the deep. Despite being concussed, Bermuda Cricket Board chief executive Neil Speight said the injury was not serious.
The seven-week tournament ends with the final in Barbados on April 28. – Reuters