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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Cup Extras: 'Bangladesh yet to play its best'

Cup Extras: 'Bangladesh yet to play its best'

Last updated on: March 17, 2011 18:52 IST

'If we can make the quarter-finals, it will be great'

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Bangladesh might be within sniffing distance of reaching the quarter-finals of the World Cup but aggressive opener Tamim Iqbal feels the Tigers are yet to play their best cricket in the tournament.

- World Cup Coverage

Bangladesh have six points from five matches and will will qualify for the knock-out rounds of the tournament if the West Indies beat England in Chennai on Thursday irrespective of the outcome of their last match against South Africa.

However if England win, the Tigers will have to score an upset victory over formidable South Africa in their concluding Group B match at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium on Saturday to make it to the last eight stage.

"We have not played our best cricket yet. We can do better than that and we will try to do that against South Africa," Tamim told reporters in Dhaka on Thursday.

"If we can make the quarter-finals, it will be great, because that was the team's target before the tournament," he added.

Bangladesh have so far defeated England and the two associate nations -- the Netherlands and Ireland - and occupy the fourth position, just ahead of of England.

They lost to title favourites India in the tournament-opener and then crashed to their lowest one-day total of 58 against the West Indies.

"Even if we don't play the quarter-finals, it will not take anything away from us. Our aim was to win at least three matches and we have already achieved that target. If we can get one more that will be fantastic," the aggressive left-hander said.

On the team's morale, Tamim said, "It is not that the morale is at an all-time high. But there is a good feeling among the boys and there is a good environment at the moment.

"Everyone is wanting to do well and training very hard and trying to improve."


Image: Bangladesh team celebrates after winning a match
Photographs: Getty Images
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Kiwis aiming for top-two finish in Group A

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Having assured themselves of a place in the quarter-finals of the World Cup, New Zealand go into Friday's match against Sri Lanka with the aim of finishing in top-two of Group 'A', off-spinner Nathan McCullum said.

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"We can go on to win tomorrow's game and finish in the top two. That's obviously our target and not who we are playing against in the quarter-finals. (We are) excited to make it to the quarter-finals. But our job's not done.

"We have got a very important match tomorrow. It would be great to win that game and finish in the top two of this group and make it easy (for ourselves) moving forward in the quarter-finals," he told reporters at the Wankhede Stadium.

McCullum said the induction of former Kiwi batsman John Wright and former South speedster Allan Donald into the coaching staff has helped the team overcome the thrashing it received in the sub-continent from Bangladesh and India, and at home from Pakistan.

"There is always going to be cultural changes with a difference in personnel. There are a couple fresh voices but experienced voices that we have been able to tap into.. they have international experience of playing and coaching as well.

"It has allowed us to put things behind us on what happened in the past few months but also helped us learn from that experience as well," said McCullum who is a handy lower-order batsman.

The 30-year-old brother of wicketkeeper Brendon said that though there have not been any major upsets in Group 'A', the cricket will get more exciting in the later stages of the tournament.

"The quality of teams around at the moment, any team can beat anyone. I'm sure that as the tournament goes on there will be many things to talks about and many such results."


Image: Nathan McCullum celebrates after picking up a wicket

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'Ireland need more games against big boys'

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With his side showing big heart in taking on the big boys of cricket in the World Cup, Ireland coach Phil Simmons urged the International Cricket Council (ICC) to provide his side enough opportunities to play against the strong teams.

The former West Indies inspirational all-rounder said his side is now capable of ending on the right side of the result even if they contest against formidable sides.

"We no longer come to play against Australia, England or India hoping to compete. We come against looking to win the game... and planning how to win the game," the 48-year-old, who earlier coached Zimbabwe, said.

"We can play against big guys now. We no longer play to compete, we play to win now, so need more games in a year, not just two or three as we have this year so far. We should be given a chance to play against big boys because they all have respect for us now.

"We have been asking ICC we need more games we are nowhere Tests but we can play ODIs and Twenty20s," he said.


Image: Phil Simmons during a training session

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'We should have won crunch matches'

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Simmons was disappointed for the team having missed out on the quarters berth.

"We just could not finish off (some games) and get to the quarter-finals. If we had reached there, we never knew from there with three matches in the knockouts.

"It's disappointing because we put ourselves in a position to win on a number of occasions, but we could not follow up, notably against Bangladesh and the West Indies. We put ourselves in a good position to win, so it's a bit disappointing.

"I think in two games, I spoke earlier it just showed we need more games at this level to get us ready to keep playing against big boys. To get experience how to finish off the game," he said.

Ireland lost to Bangladesh narrowly in their first game but came strong to beat England in an astonishing 300-plus run chase. They came to haunt India and the West Indies but fell in the last hurdle to be out of the tournament.

To a query whether Darren Bravo is shaping up as another Brian Lara for the West Indies cricket, Simmons felt that he needs to get 10,000 Test runs under his belt first.

"There have been few new Brian Laras projected, but there is one Lara, one (Sachin) Tendulkar, one Don Bradman and one Viv Richards. In a few shots he does look the great man but he's got to get 10,000 Test runs before it can be said he is Brian."


Image: Ireland players celebrate after a fall of a wicket

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