Bangladesh aim to break new ground in England

Bangladesh aim to break new ground in England

DHAKA: Bangladesh have set their sights on capping a remarkable rise by reaching the World Cup semi-finals for the first time. They arrive in England confident of making the last four on the back of impressive form that marks them as a serious threat to the established order.

Bangladesh showed they can compete with cricket’s elite nations when they advanced to the Champions Trophy semi-finals two years ago from a strong group featuring England, Australia and New Zealand.

Significantly for their hopes in this edition of the World Cup, that memorable campaign came in England. It was also further proof of their emergence following a maiden World Cup quarter-final berth in 2015.

Bangladesh’s group stage win against England four years ago proved to be a catalyst for the side, boosting their belief and triggering a sustained spell of success. Between April 2015 and October 2016, Bangladesh won five one-day international series in a row against Pakistan, India, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan.

All of those series were played at home but it was still a huge sign of progress for a Bangladesh team considered as international whipping boys not so long ago. Bangladesh will carry plenty of experience into the tournament in the form of Mashrafe, Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim.

Mashrafe says a semi-final place is their goal, but he admits it will be tough to get that far given the round-robin nature of the first stage of the10-team tournament. “At the moment I think going to the semi-finals will be big challenge, but nothing is impossible,” Mashrafe said before leaving Dhaka for England.

“Of course it is possible, difficult though. In the past a win over one big team in the group stage might have been enough, it would have made a comeback difficult for them. “Those who are expecting to play in the semi-finals they will have plenty of opportunities to come back. We have to be careful about it.”

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