Lanka wary of rejuvenated Bangla in Cup clash

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2007, 5:26 [IST]
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Port of Spain (T&T):Former champions Sri Lanka will take nothing for granted against Bangladesh in Wednesday's Group B clash after they rocked the sub-continent pecking order by stunning India.

Bangladesh, the least fancied among the three Asian teams in the tournament's toughest group produced a superb all-round display to trigger a three-horse race for Super Eights.

With debutants Bermuda having become the group's whipping boys, three teams could finish with two wins apiece and moving to the next stage could come down to net run rate calculations.

Sri Lanka crushed Bermuda by 243 runs. India won by a record margin of 257 runs to remain in the race ahead of Friday's must-win game against the islanders.

Sri Lanka feel Bangladesh would have no fear because of the number of young players in their ranks, coached by Dav Whatmore, who also guided them to Cup glory in 1996.

"We should give credit to Bangladesh the way they have played," Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan said.

"We should not be surprised (by their wins) anymore.

"We started in 1982 (by getting our Test status) and in 14 years' we won the World Cup," he said on Monday. "They haven't delivered in the past but they could after this World Cup."

Lanka though had a pretty mediocre build-up to World Cup with 1-3 thrashing from India in ODIs just before World Cup. However they seem to have a good combo to stake their claim for the coveted trophy, with the likes of in-form Jayasuriya, Tharanga, Sangakkara, Jayawardene, Chamara Silva, Dilshan in batting.

They have variety and depth in bowling with Murali, Bhandara and Jayasuriya in spin department. While Vaas, Malinga, Maharoof and Dilhara form their pace attack and is a decent fielding side.

The fast-improving Bangladesh, granted Test status in 2000, would again pin their hopes on their young guns against a team they beat last February.

Teenaged opener Tamim Iqbal, who turned 18 on Tuesday, hit a rapid maiden one-day fifty which had the Whatmore stamp with each shot resembling opener Sanath Jayasuriya's pinch-hitting 11 years ago.

Teenagers Mushfiqur Rahim and Saqibul Hasan also took apart the Indian bowling to notch 50s after paceman Mashrafe Mortaza's four wickets helped bowl out India for 191 on a good batting pitch at Queen's Park Oval.

"You can call it a dream or hope but we are thinking about the Super Eights," skipper Habibul Bashar said.

Bashar said his team gained a lot of confidence after beating India but his players were also aware what it would take to beat two fancied teams in successive matches.


Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Sanath Jayasuriya, Upul Tharanga, Marvan Atapattu, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Russel Arnold, Chamara Silva, Chaminda Vaas, Farveez Maharoof, Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Fernando, Nuwan Kulasekara, Muttiah Muralitharan and Malinga Bandara. Coach: Tom Moody.

Bangladesh: Habibul Bashar (capt), Shahriar Nafees, Tamim Iqbal, Aftab Ahmed, Saqibul Hasan, Mohammad Ashraful, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mohammad Rafique, Abdur Razzak, Mashrafe Mortaza, Shahadat Hossain, Tapash Baisya, Syed Rasel, Rajin Saleh and Javed Omar. Coach: Dav Whatmore.

ThatsCricket (with inputs from Agencies)

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