Bangladesh hopes to end losing streak against Canada
Published: Monday, February 10, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
Bangladesh captain hopes to retire on a high note
Durban: Barring a miracle, Bangladesh will finally end its embarrassing streak of 26 straight defeats when it begins its World Cup campaign at the Kingsmead on Tuesday. The confidence stems from the fact that its opponent in the day-night encounter is Canada, who came through the qualifying ranks to take part in only its second World Cup. Victory, however, cannot be taken for granted since the Canadians, comprising mainly West Indian and Asian immigrants, did win one of its two matches against Bangladesh so far. Bangladesh has struggled to compete with the big boys, having succeeded in just three of its 61 One-day matches since being granted One-day International status in 1985-86. And one of those victories was marred in controversy when it toppled mighty Pakistan in the previous World Cup in England four years ago amidst cries of foul play. Bangladesh's confidence has been lifted by a 4-1 win over fellow World Cuppers Namibia in a warm-up series last month, which featured an astonishing innings of 177 off 145 balls by opener Al Sahariar in the last game. Unfortunately for Bangladesh, those matches did not have One-day International status. A bigger morale-booster was the five-wicket win Bangladesh managed in a practice match against South African provincial side KwaZulu-Natal last week following Ehsanul Haque's 92 and 68 from Sahariar. The same KwaZulu side defeated Saurav Ganguly's India the following day. "The wins over Namibia and KwaZulu-Natal has put us in the right frame of mind for the World Cup," said captain Khaled Mashud. "We know our limitations. We are expected to compete only against Kenya and Canada, but I am confident we will put up a good fight against the fancied teams as well." "If we play consistently, we will do well," said Mashud, the 27-year-old who has spoken of quitting the captaincy after the World Cup to concentrate on his wicket- keeping. Canada, coached by former West Indian batsman Gus Logie, made its only other World Cup appearance in 1979 when it was shot out for a record low of 45 by England. Logie, however, was confident his team has come a long way since. "The wickets are harder here, but they've seen the South African players and the international teams. They are mentally strong enough to handle the conditions," he said. Canada is led by Madras-born Joseph Harris, a handy batsman who boasts of a healthy ICC Trophy average of just over 41. Off spinner John Davison, who has played with Victoria in Australia, will be expected to take wickets.