After England’s victory over India at the Edgbaston, the road ahead for Bangladesh in the 2019 World Cup has become tougher. With triumphs over South Africa, Windies and Afghanistan, Mashrafe Mortaza’s men haven’t been short of oomph and energy. However, a lot of calculations need to go in their favour in order for them to qualify for the semis.
Bangladesh will next be taking on India at the Edgbaston, Birmingham later in the day and this is a must-win clash for the Tigers. While India are just a win away from sealing the semi-final berth. When asked point-blank on Monday at Edgbaston whether he is surprised that his team is still in the fray for the ICC Cricket World Cup semi-finals, Mashrafe Mortaza furrowed his brow and fixed the reporter with a quizzical look.
“No. I am not surprised. I am not sure what you are talking about,” he replied.
The question was posed to him again, in fewer words: Bangladesh are in contention for the World Cup semi-finals. “Hundred percent. Two matches left, so we have to play our best,” said Mashrafe. “If we can manage to win it will be great. Both sides are very strong. India are a very strong side and we have to play hard and be 100 percent in every area. It’s a good thing that we are still alive in this tournament, but we have to play lot better than what we’ve played.”
We have to play well
Bangladesh believe they can make the World Cup semi-finals. They have to, right? Since the 2015 World Cup when they reached the quarter-finals for the first time, their cricket has risen upwards. In this tournament, they have defeated South Africa and West Indies and should have beaten New Zealand. One point from a washout against Sri Lanka has helped them. On Tuesday, Mortaza’s team face India, who on the same Edgbaston pitch lost their first match of the tournament on Sunday. Bangladesh’s final group match is on Friday at Lord’s, against Pakistan. That match is a quarter-final, virtually.
Mortaza doesn’t feel it is worth looking at what other teams have done. “We came here by winning three matches and one was rained off. If we have to win tomorrow we have to play well, like we did before in the matches won. If we lose, our World Cup is over. I take it positively. I prefer that harder options are better, if you want to move forward it is better.”
“I am confident, I have to be. India are a very strong side,” he said. “We want to win every time. Their team is very strong. If we are hundred percent correct, you never know. In sport you can beat anybody. It will be very hard but you have to be at your best. I don’t think its psychological … it’s all about skill. Cricket is a psychological game. In the middle all pressure is handled by players. I don’t think there’s a lot of added pressure. Players playing on the ground will feel pressure in difficult situations.”