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Still, no ‘quarter’ lost for Bangladesh

As the Bangladesh players trooped out of the dressing room for a game of football before the nets, they looked downcast, but got into the groove as the training began. Nilankur Das reports.

cricket Updated: Mar 19, 2011 01:25 IST
Nilankur Das

As the Bangladesh players trooped out of the dressing room for a game of football before the nets, they looked downcast, but got into the groove as the training began.

Bangladesh were nurturing hopes of a World Cup quarterfinal berth before the Thursday night heartbreak when West Indies lost to England. They now have to beat South Africa at the Sher-e Bangla stadium — a difficult task — on Saturday to progress from the group.

If they somehow manage to do that, the India-West Indies tie on Sunday would become a virtual play-off. A loss for Bangladesh would mean India, England and the West Indies will join South Africa in the last-eight.

In the event of the points being shared on Saturday, and West Indies losing to India, Bangladesh will be through at the cost of the Caribbean team. With rain being forecast for Saturday, Bangladesh are keeping their fingers crossed.

But just like Thursday’s result, the weather too is not something the Bangladesh team has under its control. Skipper Shakib-Al Hasan accepted that South Africa are a better side in every department, adding that his team would have to bat well against a far superior side.

Dual attack

Bangladesh’s problem is that South Africa’s spin attack is equally strong. Though Imran Tahir’s leg-spin will be negated by a battery of left-handed batsmen, the hosts will still have to tackle the off-spin of Johan Botha and JP Duminy.

Also, Bangladesh batsmen would be dreading fiery paceman Dale Steyn, who seems to have recovered from a niggle. Even if he is rested as a precautionary measure, Graeme Smith has Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Warne Parnell and of course Morne Morkel to choose from.

Mental strength

The last match Bangladesh played here, they were massacred by the West Indies. The wicket will be same this time around and though Shakib’s boys are coming with two successive wins in Chittagong, it will be difficult for them to completely discount that when they go out.

One person who can turn things around in the hosts' favour is Tamim Iqbal, though he is yet to play to potential in the tournament. Bangladesh have shown they can come back from the dead. Saturday is their last chance.