We need to prove that we have improved: Mashrafe

Sports Correspondent

20 June, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza insisted that they need to prove that they are a better side than before when they take on Australia during their ICC World Cup 2019 fixture at Trent Bridge in Nottingham today.

Fresh from their incredible victory against West Indies, Bangladesh are looking to keep the momentum going as they take on mighty Australia in their sixth game of the ongoing World Cup.

Australia have been beaten just once in this tournament, that too against an extraordinary Indian side but apart from that they won all of the matches, showing their absolute domination and professionalism that actually has long been their tradition.

However, Tigers made a big statement by gunning down the West Indians as Tigers overcame a mammoth total of 321 runs with 51 balls to spare and due to this fact they looked upbeat going against Australia.

“I think we are we are confident and there is no doubt about it,” Mashrafe told reporters ahead of the crucial game against Australia on Wednesday.

“I think that was a must-win game for us (against West Indies) to stay in that tournament. Losing points to New Zealand and England and obviously Sri Lanka you never know, we could have won, we could’ve lost, but still losing point to these guys. Again, we have returned back to the track and it was much needed. The boys are pretty confident,” he said.

“But against Australia, it won’t be easy, for sure, especially the condition and the form they (Australia) are in. I think 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. That’s all,” he said.

The Aussies have eight points in five matches to keep them in the second position in point table while Bangladesh sits at fifth position with five points in five games. Australia remains the only Test nation against whom Bangladesh didn’t win more than one match. Tigers didn’t win any ODI against Australia in this decade; their only victory came against Australia in 2005 at Cardiff thanks to Mohammad Ashraful’s blistering century.

That time Bangladesh’s win against the then all conquering Australia, boasting the likes of Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne, Mathew Hayden and so many great players, was termed as the biggest upset in the ODI cricket history.

After 2011, Bangladesh only faced off Australia twice—in ICC World Cup 2015 and ICC Champions Trophy 2017 and both times the match was washed out, meaning they didn’t play any compete ODI games against Aussies since 2011.

Australia didn’t host Bangladesh for any bilateral series since 2008 and have even refused to tour in Bangladesh showing security concerns before touring Tigers’ land for a two-match Test series in 2017. Bangladesh drew that Test series but no ODI series was played then.

“I don’t think we have to prove anything against them, but it is always disappointing when you’re not touring and don’t get the opportunity to play in such a big stage. It’s always disappointing. You can learn a lot of things when you’re playing in Australia, England, New Zealand and obviously South Africa,” said Mashrafe.

“So, there’s a lot of things we can learn, especially the (indiscernible) teams,” he said.

“It’s always disappointing when that sort of thing happens. But again I would say that what has past is past; we don’t have to think about it. It’s a tournament where everyone wants to play well. Everyone wants to win. This is the right time and to prove ourselves that we are a better side than what we’ve been,” he said.

“Playing for your nation, it’s a big thing. To stay alive in this tournament, it’s a very important match. Australia are very tough team but it’s not impossible to beat them. So we have to fight and let’s see what follows,” he added.