Melbourne: Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza was very matter-of-fact in his admission that the batting line-up of his opposition team was world-class, ahead of today's quarter-final against India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Mashrafe Mortaza in Melbourne yesterday. Pic/AFP
"(India captain Mahendra Singh) Dhoni is a tremendous one-day batsman and a genuine match-winner and then there's Virat Kohli. Overall, I think the Indian batting is the best in the world, so it is a challenge for our bowlers. We have to bowl well, definitely. It is our biggest challenge to bowl against Indian batsmen," the 31-year-old all-rounder said at the pre-match press conference at the MCG yesterday.
'No pressure on us'
This is the first time that Bangladesh has made the Last Eight stage of the prestigious quadrennial competition, but Mortaza says there's no pressure on his boys whatsoever going into the second quarter-final today as they are more than happy to reach here in the first place. "The World Cup group stage was more important for us because there was a lot of expectations from us back home. All felt that we can beat the big teams and qualify for the knockout stage.
Now, that we have achieved that, I think from tomorrow the boys will be very relaxed. We just want to perform on the biggest ground and hopefully we'll play our best cricket. We are living a dream at the moment but it's also true that there's no end to one's dreams. First, it was whether we would qualify for the second round, now it's whether we can get into the semi-finals. So, we just want to concentrate on what's in our hands at the moment and that's this match," he added.
Mortaza took a Man of the Match-winning 4-38 at Port of Spain when Bangladesh stunned the Rahul Dravid-led Indian team at the 2007 edition of the World Cup. But that has no bearing on today's crucial clash, said the skipper. "That was a long time ago… eight years back. In one-day cricket it's all about performing well on the day. But yes, we do have some good young players in our team, and they have been performing well throughout this tournament. Hopefully, they can come up and deliver their best tomorrow."