Bangladesh will start as favorites for the first time in this World Cup when they take on Sri Lanka at The County Ground in Bristol on Tuesday, but skipper Mashrafe Mortaza said it makes little difference to his team.
“We expect to win,” Mashrafe said on Monday, a day before the match.
“Even the New Zealand match, even the England match. Even Sri Lanka. Pressure will be there in every match. We have to cope with that, make sure we deliver. A few things will go against us, but at the end of the day we have to make sure we’re on the winning side. From the first ball, that’s our target,” he said.
Bangladesh, a first-time quarterfinalist four years ago, is aiming to reach the semifinals for the first time. They came to England quietly confident that this was their best chance yet.
After an impressive opening win over South Africa, however, Bangladesh fell short against New Zealand by two wickets and was hammered by England by 106 runs. With a 1-2 record, Bangladesh needs to get back on track quickly. And Sri Lanka is ripe for plucking.
“If we had won against New Zealand or England, it would be a lot easier,” Mashrafe said. “The calculation now is a lot more difficult. (Making the semis) is still very much possible. We have to make sure we get back on the winning track,” he added.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka are hoping their batsmen start firing, batting coach Jon Lewis said. They were bowled out by New Zealand for a paltry 136 runs and their batsmen struggled against Afghanistan after a solid start with experienced middle-order batsmen like Kusal Mendis and all-rounder Angelo Mathews short of runs.
“I’m confident the players of that quality will definitely come to the party soon. …but yeah, we do need more from some of the batters,” Lewis told reporters.
“They (Bangladesh) have had a tough start to the World Cup in terms of the fixtures, some difficult ones, but they have obviously put in some good performances even in games they haven’t won which have suggested they are going to be a tough opposition for everybody, so we know that,” Lewis said.
Sri Lanka will be without fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep due to a dislocated finger.
However, all eyes are on the skies in Bristol on eve of this match, with the forecast in Bristol predicting rain showers throughout the day.