Mirpur: Expectations might be high on Bangladesh to repeat their 2007 feat, but captain Shakib Al Hasan on Friday said his team was not feeling any undue pressure and is confident of doing well against India in the tournament opener.
Saturday’s match assumes great significance for both the countries as Bangladesh was the team that knocked India out of the 2007 Caribbean World Cup with a stunning five-wicket win in the first round.
Shakib said Bangladesh presently is in a good shape and consistency is something that they would be looking for in the tournament.
“Our bowlers are in good form, the batsmen have been doing their job and our fielding has improved a lot,” Shakib said during a pre-match media conference at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium.
“This tournament is not only about playing India. We have six league matches to play and we have to perform in all of them. If we get our basics right, we will do well,” he said.
Even though India are the overwhelming favourites to win the fixture, having won 20 out of their 22 ODIs against Bangladesh, Shakib inisted pressure is the last thing on their minds going into Saturday’s match.“The guys have played enough cricket to cope with the pressure. We are not looking too far ahead. We will take it one game at a time and concentrate on the job at hand,” the Bangladeshi skipper said.
Shakib said a tough opening encounter against co-hosts India is good for the Bangladesh team, who have lost just one of their last 10 ODIs at home.
“I don’t think it can get better than this. Playing a strong side like India has its advantages. We want to prove ourselves against the best,” he said.
Conceded that toss will play a vital role in Saturday’s day-night affair because of the late evening dew, Shakib said Bangladesh cannot afford to bank only on spinners against India.“If there is no dew, conditions will be good for batting till the end,” he said.
“We can’t rely only on spin, because teams from the sub-continent usually play spin quite well,” he added.
Shakib also said that Bangladesh will badly miss former captain and pace spearhead Mashrafe Mortaza, who was ruled out of the tournament due to a recurring knee injury.
“He (Mortaza) has been a great performer for us over the past few years,” he said.
“But this current side has been playing well over some time now and we have a very settled combination,” the skipper quipped.
India and Bangladesh have been drawn alongside England, the West Indies, South Africa, Ireland and the Netherlands in Group B with the top four teams progressing to the quarter-finals.
First Published: Friday, February 18, 2011, 15:21