Mortaza Believes Bangladesh Can Tame the West Indies Pace Attack
West Indies’ explosive batting line-up may be feared around the world, but Mashrafe Mortaza believes Bangladesh’s Tigers can tame them again at Taunton.
Needing victory in Monday’s ICC Cricket World Cup clash to keep pace with the leading pack, Bangladesh boast an enviable record against Jason Holder’s side over the past few years, triumphing in ODI series home and away as well as the recent Tri-Nation series.
Key to that successful match-up has been the potent use of spin, and with Mehedy Hasan and Shakib Al Hasan both in wicket-taking form so far this World Cup, skipper Mashrafe is confident his side have a viable plan of attack - even on the notoriously short boundaries of the County Ground.
“It’s a very important match for us, especially losing few points in the last three matches,” he said.
“We've been quite successful against them with some off-spinners. And if you look at recently, Mehedy bowled really well against them. And also he's bowling so well in this World Cup as well, even the right-handed.
“Obviously the top five West Indies batsmen are left handers, and Mehedy bowled against them really well too.
“So it's a positive sign. And the same thing I'll say that it's a small ground, too, so we have to think about it as well. West Indies have so much power to do it.”
With T20 specialist Chris Gayle at the top of the order and Andre Russell providing an x-factor in the middle, West Indies will hope to take advantage of the specific conditions they are likely to face at the County Ground on Monday.
And while facing players of their quality is a daunting task for any team, Mashrafe, 35, feels the Men in Maroon’s reputation as big-hitters remains something of a double-edged sword.
He added: “They come hard. And the kind of cricket they play, they’re always positive and play shots in the middle, which is good, which can be bad, both ways.
“So we take it positively that, as we said, the matchup, I think our bowling has been fantastic against them last two, three series we played against them.
“We've got to back ourselves. But as we've been succeeding against them, I think we have to rethink about it. And whatever the ground, whatever the wicket, we have to back our own strength. That's what I feel."
Approaching the midway point in the competition, the Tigers have been left to rue several near-misses, including the narrow defeat to New Zealand at the Oval.
Further ground was lost in the rained-off clash with Sri Lanka last week, but Mashrafe, a World Cup stalwart, insists belief remains high in the camp regarding qualification for the semi-finals.
“We lost against New Zealand, that might cost a little bit,” he concluded. “But we have still five matches left, as I said, that if we can take one by one at a time, and if we really perform well, you have to do it.
“It's been ups and downs. But we can make the difference.
“We have to believe in it, which I believe that my team is believing."