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Bangladesh face Ireland in World Cup undercard
April 14, 2007 22:23 IST
Bangladesh will wear the tag of favourites for once when they face debutants Ireland in a Super Eights clash on Sunday between two World Cup giant-killers.
The youngest Test nation and Ireland, an associate team of mostly amateurs, will take centre stage at the imposing Kensington Oval on a day originally earmarked for the derby clash between traditional rivals India and Pakistan.
Scores of Indian and Pakistan fans, who had planned their trips well in advance, will be in the neutral sections joining the boisterous Blarney Army and a handful of Bangladesh fans.
Habibul Bashar's team would hope to win after proving their maiden second-round qualification was not a fluke when they caused another major upset over formidable South Africa.
However, both Bangladesh and Ireland will heave a sigh of relief as their batsmen floundered on the lively pitch against world class pace.
The Irish are licking their wounds after Australian fast bowlers Glenn McGrath and Shaun Tait routed them for 91 to hand them a nine-wicket defeat on Friday.
Bangladesh fared marginally better, 143 all out in their four-wicket defeat against England on Wednesday.
The contest will be a sort of Cup anticlimax before the frenzy for the last semi-final slots resumes.
Bangladesh, with two points and a final game in hand against below-par West Indies, are not entirely out of the race while Ireland are, having lost all their four Super Eights games.
However, Bashar admitted after the England loss his team would be realistic and focus on the two matches at hand.
"We are looking forward to the two games left and we should finish sixth or seventh."
Ireland have shown great spirit so far to win many fans and their fielding in particular has remained excellent.
Skipper Trent Johnston believes his team are capable of defeating Bangladesh.
"It would mean everything (to beat them)," he said on Friday. "We have come here to put Irish cricket on the map.
"It's a huge game for us and it is the one game we looked at and thought 'we could win this'."
The seven-week World Cup culminates in the final in Barbados on April 28.
The Cup: The Complete Coverage
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