Desperate England take on giant killers Bangla

Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Bridgetown (Barbados):England must avoid becoming another Bangladesh scalp on Wednesday if they are to keep their World Cup semi-final hopes alive.

Rank outsiders Bangladesh have already stunned India and South Africa in the tournament and a third shock win would suddenly put them in the reckoning for qualification from the Super Eights and all but knock England out.

"They look a dangerous team. Any team that have beaten India and South Africa in a World Cup have got to be taken seriously," England captain Michael Vaughan told reporters.

England have lost three matches so far, including Sunday's seven-wicket defeat by defending champions Australia in Antigua.

They have yet to score 300, Kevin Pietersen is the only player to have hit a century and their pace bowlers James Anderson and Sajid Mahmood have been very inconsistent.

Stuart Broad, the 20-year-old paceman who flew in last week after Jon Lewis went home to be with his pregnant wife, has a chance of replacing Mahmood with fellow seam bowler Liam Plunkett also waiting in the wings.

Andrew Strauss returned to the side in place of struggling opener Ed Joyce against Australia, and despite falling cheaply to Shaun Tait he is expected to keep his place.

As well as overcoming Bangladesh, England need to beat South Africa and hosts West Indies in their remaining second stage matches in Barbados to have a good chance of progressing.

England managed a similar string of wins in the recent tri-series in Australia when they won four games in a row to take the title having looked out of the running.

"We did it in Australia when we were beaten quite comprehensively and got through to the final and we've got to make sure we do the same thing here," England coach Duncan Fletcher said.

Fresh from their upset win over top-ranked team South Africa, Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar is talking big and dreaming about a semi-final berth.

''We now have a bright chance to play the semi-final if we can beat England. The English team has some good players but they are not playing well. So it will not be impossible to beat them,'' he told a website.

Bashar has already warned that they are not in the Super Eights just to make up the numbers and the young side are desperate to repeat that feat for the third time in the World Cup when they lock horns against England.

Youthful Bangladesh, who must also play Ireland and West Indies, thoroughly deserved their 67-run win over South Africa in Guyana on Saturday.

Man-of-the-match Mohammad Ashraful, 22, scored 87 from 83 balls and added 76 runs for the fifth wicket with Aftab Ahmed, 21 while Bangla young spinners Abdur Razzaq and Saqibul Hasan fared exceptionally well to tame mighty Proteas.


England: Michael Vaughan (capt), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Paul Collingwood, James Dalrymple, Andrew Flintoff, Ed Joyce, Stuart Broad, Sajid Mahmood, Paul Nixon, Monty Panesar, Kevin Pietersen, Liam Plunkett and Andrew Strauss. Coach: Duncun Fletcher.

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


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