Bangladesh aim for better showing

Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar is looking forward to an improved all-round performance from his team in their World Cup Super Eights match against South Africa in Georgetown on Saturday.

Bangladesh have been under-performing since stunning India in their opening group match in Trinidad last month, the win which eventually played a key role in knocking the former champions out of the tournament.

But it appeared to be a one-off big victory as Bangladesh crashed to three defeats against Test-playing nations, losing to Sri Lanka by 198 runs, to defending champions Australia by 10 wickets and to New Zealand by nine wickets.

Bangladesh now need to raise their performance to avoid another thrashing as South Africa look determined to gain two points to enchance their chances of qualifying for the semifinals.

Graeme Smith’s side have already earned four points by beating Sri Lanka and debutants Ireland, while Bangladesh have yet to open their account.

South Africa were keen to maintain their momentum, with middle-order batsman Ashwell Prince saying that it was important to get two points (against Bangladesh) to boost their chances of making it to the last four.

“Two points, that’s the most important thing. There’s a lot of rain, but we are hoping to get enough overs to complete a match and get two points,” said Prince.

The South African batsman said he still expected a tough game despite Bangladesh’s big defeats in the second round.

“The Bangladeshi batsmen looked very positive in the matches I have watched and I am sure they will try and put our bowlers under pressure. So, I don’t think it is going to be an easy game at all,” said Prince.

“They have beaten India, so they obviously have got something there.
We are expecting a tough match and are expecting their batsmen to come at us.”

The Bangladeshi batsmen looked very impressive against India, with teenager Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Saqibul Hasan all making half-centuries to help their team surpass India’s total of 191 with five wickets to spare.

Their top-order batsmen could not repeat their performance after the India match, but South Africa have more or less solved their problems ahead of the big Super Eights matches.

South Africa’s top-order batsmen, especially Jacques Kallis, looked in good nick and fast bowler Shaun Pollock’s sharp two-wicket spell against Ireland came at the right time. The paceman had gone wicketless in the last two games.

“The fact that our top order is batting so well that the guys in the middle order haven’t had much time to bat—myself, Justin Kemp and Mark Boucher have had very little time in the middle,” said Prince.

Prince made the most of the opportunity in the last match against Ireland, scoring a solid 47 not out to guide his team to a seven-wicket victory with man-of-the-match Kallis (66).

“Every time we had batted first, they [top-order batsmen] batted most of the overs up. So, that’s one of the reasons why I am glad I got the opportunity in the last match,” said Prince.

“Even though it was getting a little bit dark, I didn’t want to go off the field as I wanted some batting practice.” - Sapa

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