Cricket World Cup 2019: Bangladesh will draw on UAE memories for inspiration against Afghanistan
Coach Steve Rhodes says last year's Asia Cup finalists will approach each game as knockout
Bangladesh will draw on the memories of their run to the Asia Cup final last year in UAE as they target a place in the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup, according to Steve Rhodes, their coach.
They face Afghanistan on Monday knowing they realistically need to win all three of their remaining matches, then hope other results go their way, if they are to make the last four.
Back in September, Afghanistan beat Bangladesh in the group stage in Dubai to make their route to the Asia Cup final unlikely.
Bangladesh bounced back, though, with wins against both the Afghans and then Sri Lanka – two sides who they face again in their final pool matches of the World Cup – before eventually losing the final to India in Dubai.
“I can draw on the experience in the Asia Cup,” Rhodes, the English coach in charge of Bangladesh, said on the eve of the Afghanistan match.
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“It was a wonderful tournament, and we almost got there. We nearly won the final off the last ball.
“If you really break it down and we do win these matches coming up, we only need five games, and we've won the World Cup. That's one way of looking at it, is to think of them all as knockout games.
“Of course, that is not easy, and the first challenge is Afghanistan. That's why we won't look further than the next game."
Afghanistan suffered heavy criticism for the manner of their 150-run loss to England on Tuesday, yet they bounced back admirably as they took India to the final over of their next outing.
“They're a tough bunch of cricketers,” Rhodes said of the Afghans.
“They really fought hard against India. We're really respectful of them.
“They pushed us hard in the Asia Cup [before Bangladesh won on the last ball in Abu Dhabi], and thankfully, we came out on top in that game.
“We know it's going to be a difficult game tomorrow, but we're not fearful. We are confident.
"We've been playing some good cricket, but, yes, if we do win game after game after game, who knows?”
Afghanistan have had a tough campaign, and, with six defeats already, became the first team to be ruled out of contention for the last four.
Their challenge has been undermined by a variety of off-field issues. It reached the point that, before the last match, coach Phil Simmons took to social media to defend himself against claims from a former selector that it was all his fault.
Gulbadin Naib, the captain, acknowledged his side have felt pressure, but said there are still trying to right the wrongs.
“Everyone wants to do well for their country and do their best for their country,” Gulbadin said.
“They’re trying to do well for the country and for the people. These players have played a lot of cricket all over the world.
“It's a big stage. Obviously, when you're playing this kind of team, you're under pressure from the start.”
Updated: June 23, 2019 07:48 PM