England cannot be taken lightly: Mortaza


ADELAIDE: Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza cautioned his team against taking struggling England lightly in Monday’s World Cup clash at the Adelaide Oval, saying it was tough to predict the outcome of a “pressure match”.

A win for the Tigers will see them knock Eoin Morgan’s side out of the tournament and move into the second round for only the second time since their World Cup debut in 1999.

England, with one win in four matches, must beat both Bangladesh and Afghanistan in Sydney on March 13 to stay in contention for the last eight.

Even that may not be enough if Bangladesh, who have five points to England’s two, upset co-hosts New Zealand in Hamilton on March 13 to squeak through to the quarter-finals from Pool A.

Mortaza acknowledged beating England will be one of the biggest wins for Bangladesh, but expected the rivals to come hard in what will be good batting conditions on the drop-in pitch.

“We are not taking England lightly at all,” the skipper said. “They are a very experienced side and know how to deal with pressure games like these.

“I am not thinking of the quarter-finals yet. The focus is to bat, bowl and field well so that we can trouble England. We should just think about our cricket and not worry about what England have been doing.”

Mortaza said his team’s ability to chase down a 300-plus target in the last match against Scotland had given them confidence to tackle England.

“It was a good win and has given the boys a lot of confidence,” he said, adding it did not matter that the chase was achieved against a winless non-Test playing nation.

Mortaza said the aim before the tournament was to defeat one of the top teams in the pool and the opportunity had arrived to realise the dream.

Bangladesh have beaten both Afghanistan and Scotland, lost to Sri Lanka and shared the points with Australia in a rained-off match.

“The equation before we came here was to beat Afghanistan and Scotland and take a chance against a big team,” said Mortaza. “That chance has now come and the real challenge is to see if we can achieve that.

“We know 160 million people back home are praying for us to succeed. I hope we can give them that joy because we are waiting to play our best cricket.”

Mortaza, whose 14-year career has been marred by at least seven leg surgeries, said he was fit to play after hobbling with an apparent hamstring strain against Scotland.

“I am ready to play, I have to play,” said the 31-year-old pace spearhead who has taken 187 wickets in 147 one-day internationals. “It looks better.”

Bangladesh defeated England in the 2011 World Cup but Mortaza refused to read too much into the two-wicket win in Chittagong.

“That was at home and four years is a long time,” he said. “It is a nice memory to have, but the important thing is to play good cricket now. Everything will depend on how we play, not what happened four years ago.” AFP