We know it's going to be a difficult game....... We are confident - Steve Rhodes Bangladesh Coach
With three games to go in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup group stage, Bangladesh are three points adrift of fourth place and a potential qualifying berth.
- Bangladesh are three points from fourth spot with three games to play
- Victory over Afghanistan on Monday would provide a major boost to their semi-final hopes
Head coach Steve Rhodes insists he will not let nerves get the better of his players.
England’s defeat against Sri Lanka on Friday provided further impetus to their dream of making the semi-finals, and with Afghanistan next up in Southampton on Monday, Bangladesh have the chance to firmly put the cat among the pigeons with victory.
Expectations are high, but coach Rhodes has counselled against putting too much pressure on his talented squad – instead promising to do everything he can to make sure the Tigers shoulder the burden against the so-far winless Afghanistan.
“If you think too hard about it being do-or-die then you can put too much pressure on yourself,” he said. “So I'll be trying to take a little bit of that pressure off the team.
“They know the importance of the game, but my job is to make sure we concentrate on the game, and we do some smart things, and we play well because, if we play well, we'll have a good chance of winning the game.
“If we try too hard, and if we put too much pressure on ourselves, I'm afraid we might not just get the result we want.”
Familiar foes from last year’s Asia Cup, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are both acutely aware of their opposition’s strengths and weaknesses.
After heavy defeat in the group stage, the Tigers eventually went on to claim bragging rights in the crucial Super Four clash in Abu Dhabi, winning by just three runs.
And Rhodes believes the experience will stand his men in good stead at the Hampshire Bowl on Monday.
“We can definitely draw on the experience in the Asia Cup,” he added. “It was a wonderfully close tournament and we were almost able to win the final.
“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.
“Of course, that is not easy, and the first challenge and the first step is Afghanistan.
“They're a tough team. They're a tough bunch of cricketers. They really fought hard against India.
“We're really respectful of them. They pushed us hard in the Asia Cup, and thankfully, we came out on top in that game.
“We know it's going to be a difficult game, but we're not fearful. We are confident.”
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