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Bangladesh aiming for World Cup knockout stages

Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons is counting on the smash-and-bash nature of cricket's most condensed form to increase the chances of his team reaching the knockout round of the Twenty20 World Cup.

cricket Updated: Jun 01, 2009 10:29 IST

Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons is counting on the smash-and-bash nature of cricket's most condensed form to increase the chances of his team reaching the knockout round of the Twenty20 World Cup.

Bangladesh's only victory in 10 Twenty20 internationals was against West Indies in 2007, enough for the team to reach the Super 8 stage of the inaugural World Cup in South Africa.

The performance raised hopes of more success to follow, particularly in the wake of Bangladesh's maiden appearance in the Super 6 stage of the 50-over World Cup in West Indies earlier that year after knocking out India.

"On our day, we can beat any top side in the world," said Siddons ahead of the team's departure for England.

Bangladesh's aim again is to reach the Super 8 round of the World Cup, which starts Friday at Lord's. To do that, it needs to beat either defending champion India or Ireland in Group A.

Siddons was optimistic that his squad, featuring a smattering of stroke-players, will advance out of the group stage and then reset its targets.

"It's Twenty20, where you can get knocked out anytime," he said. "Realistically, we should be in the Super 8s."

Bangladesh will open against India keen to repeat its upset victory in the 50-over World Cup in 2007.

India went into that tournament with the stated aim of improving on its run to the final in 2003. The loss to Bangladesh confirmed its group-stage exit.

"Everyone knows that India's the world champion in Twenty20 cricket," Siddons said. "India's got several talented cricketers, but we are capable of defeating them if our top three batsmen produce a good show in that encounter."

Bangladesh's strength is its batting, led by captain Mohammad Ashraful, who will be looking to vent his frustration of not getting many games in the recently concluded Indian Premier League in South Africa.

Vice captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza also had few opportunities in the IPL and will be hoping to showcase his talent.

Uncappd batsman Shamsur Rahman has been included as a backup to the opening pair Tamim Iqbal and Junaid Siddique, who are usually followed by Ashraful and then Raqibul Hasan and Shakib Al Hasan.

Mortaza's support in pace bowling features Shahadat Hossain, Syed Russel and Rubel Hossain, while the spin attack of Naeem Islam and Mohammad Mahmudullah has been bolstered by left-armer Abdur Razzak.

After the June 6 match against India, Bangladesh takes on Ireland on June 8 at Nottingham.