Bangaldesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza said on Monday that Shakib Al Hasan has been the best performer at this World Cup so far, and that the all-rounder was raring to go ahead of their crucial match against India on Tuesday. Shakib is the third highest run-getter in the World Cup so far with 476 runs at an average of 95.20. The southpaw has slammed two centuries and three fifties to keep Bangladesh’s hopes alive in the competition. With the ball, Shakib has snared 10 wickets so far, including a five-wicket haul against Afghanistan. Bangladesh are currently placed sixth in the table and three points behind fourth-placed England, meaning a defeat against India would end their chances of making the semifinals. India, who are placed second, can confirm a semifinal place with a win over Bangladesh.
“Shakib has been doing whatever he can do. He has been doing everything in batting, bowling and fielding. For me, he has been the best performer at this World Cup,” Mashrafe said at the pre-match press conference. “There is much left and hopefully he can do whatever he has done and finish on a good note,” he added. Talking about India, who succumbed to their first victory of the tournament against hosts England on Sunday, Mashrafe said that just because the pre-tournament favourites dominated India’s famed wrist spinners, it doesn’t mean that Bangladesh can do the same. “We can’t think that just because England did it, we would also get success against their spinners. Our batting has been very good and we will stick to the plan. England stuck to their plan, we will stick to ours,” Mashrafe said.
India have won the last two World Cup meetings between the two teams and lead the overall ODI head-to-head record 29-5, while Bangladesh have not beaten their rivals outside Dhaka since that famous win in Port of Spain in 2007. “I am not surprised, we are still in it. We have two matches left (against India and Pakistan), and we have to play our best. If we manage to win, it will be great but both teams are very strong,” Mashrafe said.
“India are very strong in this World Cup and it is not going to be easy, but we have to play hard and be at 100 per cent in every area. Are we going to still be in it? Maybe, maybe not. Let’s see… But we have to play better than what we have done so far. “Every time we have played India, they have mostly been better. The current side is very strong too. But you never know… If we reach 100 per cent then you never know,” he said.
Mashrafe also urged his teammates to drum up the spirit of 2007 in a bid to keep their World Cup dreams alive. Bangladesh famously overturned Rahul Dravid’s side by five wickets 12 years ago as Mashrafe took 4/38 in that game.