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by International Cricket Council & Cricket World Wednesday 19 June 2019
The Tigers are back roaring in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup after a seven-wicket win over West Indies last time out kept their semi-final chances well and truly alive.
But when it comes to holding their own, Bangladesh are far from done there with defending champions Australia in their sights in an exciting Trent Bridge tussle on Thursday.
Not since 2005 have Mashrafe’s side beaten Australia in an ODI – with the skipper himself one of the stars of the show when dismissing Adam Gilchrist for a duck in Cardiff.
Fourteen years on and progression has been all to see for the 35-year-old and his side, with a new-found mentality a key factor in their confidence ahead of the Nottingham clash.
“I know a few players are in our dressing room who believe we can beat anybody,” said Mashrafe. “But against Australia, it won't be easy, for sure, especially the conditions and the form they are in.
“It won't be easy. But, as I said, these boys can believe, especially if you had a good start, you never know. So let's see. We'll fight and you never know.
“It won't be easy like other match, it’s the same with any match, but the confidence is the main thing, which bowlers have right at the moment.
“I think if we took that confidence into the ground and deliver to our best and we can assess the wicket very well. You never know.
“West Indies was a must-win game for us. Losing points against New Zealand and England, and the wash-out against Sri Lanka, this was much needed and the boys are pretty much confident.”
Lots of Bangladesh’s recent success has been down to Shakib Al Hasan, with the man atop the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Rankings for all-rounders leading the way with the bat this tournament.
No man has scored more than his 384 runs this World Cup with his unbeaten 124 the key factor in the seven-wicket win over West Indies which kept alive their semi-final hopes.
But captain Mashrafe, whose side also beat South Africa for their first win of the tournament, insists his charges are not over-reliant on one man.
He added: “I wouldn't say it's a one-man army. Shakib is scoring runs; that's a great thing for the team. But if you look at it, the other boys have stepped up.
“Mustafizur Rahman got some wickets, Mohammad Saifuddin comes in and took the wicket of Chris Gayle early, we all know what he can do.
“So it's not been a one-man army, but Shakib has been doing outstandingly. Some other bowlers have to step up a little bit with what Shakib is doing.
“We really appreciate what Shakib is doing, and some of the other bowlers with what they’ve done, and we hope it will be carried on from here. It will be great to see.”
©Cricket World 2019