Bangladesh posted challenging 251/8 in 50 overs in their crucial super eights match against South Africa at providence stadium in Guyana.
Batting prodigy Mohammad Ashraful's 87 run off 83 balls with 12 boundaries helped Bangladesh to get past 250 for the first time in the world cup history. After a sedate opening partnership of 42 between Javed Omar (17 off 41 balls) and young Tamim Iqbal (38 off 59 balls), Bangladesh were in a spot of bother after losing captain Habibul Bashar (5) and Saqibul Hasan (9) cheaply. Mohammad Ashraful shared a crucial 87 run partnership with Aftab Ahmed in the 5th Wicket to steady Bangladesh.
Aftab scored 35 runs off 43 deliveries with 2 boundaries and 2 huge sixes. After his departure a Bangladesh maintained the acceleration with a fluent 54 run partnership between Mohammad Ashraful and Mashrafe Mortaza who scored a quickfire 25 runs off just 16 deliveries with 3 boundaries and 1 six.
Mohammad Ashraful led the Bangladesh?s revival with a fine 87.
Mohammad Ashraful led the Bangladesh's revival with a fine 87 © Cricinfo
Andre Nel was the pick of the South African attack and took 5 wickets for 45 runs. Earlier, South Africa Captain Graeme Smith won the toss and decided to bowl first under overcast conditions in Guyana. The pitch is expected to offer some early assistance due to continuous rain over the last couple of days.
Guyana, the venue for todays match could provide an ideal opportunity for them to put up a much-improved performance. The hot and humid nature of Guyana weather is quite similar with sub-continents and pitches have traditionally been slow and low, similar to the ones in the sub-continent. Bangladesh need to post some decent total to give a chance to their slow left arm spinners to exploit the conditions. Proteas batting line up has records of having problems against quality spinners.
South Africa captain Graeme Smith is not taking Bangladesh lightly but has already expressed his desire to avoid Australia in semi final. South Africa needs to win all their remaining matches against the likes of Bangladesh, West Indies and New Zealand to make that happen.
Both Bangladesh captain Bashar and coach Dav Whatmore promised a better display and asked the Tigers to learn from their mistakes in previous two games.
"We just have to pick up our game and we still have four matches left. We will go out thinking we can win those games. The goal is not to repeat the mistakes of the last two matches," said Bashar who also suffered criticism in Bangladesh for his poor show on the field.
"I have faith in my players. They have showed in the past that they can beat any team on their day," added Bashar.
Bashar also insisted that Bangladesh team is not getting distracted due to coach Dav Whatmore's interest in India job.
"He has been working very hard with us and has given no indication that he's not enjoying himself," said Bashar.
"I don't want to talk too much about his thoughts. It's purely for him to decide. But our performance shows what kind of hard work he has put in."
Bangladesh have included Shahadat Hossain in the 12 man squad in place of Tapash Baisya who suffered ankle injury in previous match. Andre Nel may return for South Africa to reinforce the pace attack.
Bangladesh (from): Habibul Bashar (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Aftab Ahmed, Saqibul Hasan, Mohammad Ashraful, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Rafique, Abdur Razzak, Mashrafe Mortaza, Shahadat Hossain, Syed Rasel, Javed Omar.
South Africa (from): G Smith (captain), J Kallis, L Bosman, M Boucher, AB de Villiers, H Gibbs, A Hall, J Kemp, C Langeveldt, A Nel, M Ntini, R Peterson, S Pollock, A Prince, R Telemachus.
Umpires : M Benson (England), B Doctrove (WI)