Tuesday March 20, 2018 03:56 AM

Mashrafe: We have to play extraordinary cricket

Mashrafe: We have to play extraordinary cricket
Bangladesh's Mashrafe bin Mortaza briefs the media at Sophia Gardens on ThursdayDHAKA TRIBUNE/Md Manik

Mashrafe said their middle order needs to fire if they are to harbour any hope of winning the game

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza said they are only concentrating on achieving a positive result on Friday, rather than the semi-finals, when they take on New Zealand in an important 2017 Champions Trophy clash at Sophia Gardens.

The 33-year old informed that they are looking to end their group stage mission on a winning note before switching attention to the game between Australia and host England that will, in all likelihood, decide which two teams go through to the last four from Group A.

“Look, the way we are playing in the last or three years, there’s a lot of matches we won and also a few matches we should have won but couldn’t. But it’s still our focus to win every match and play at our best. So obviously in [Friday’s] match we will try our level best,” Mashrafe told the media on Thursday in the pre-match press conference in Cardiff.

“We know if we can create chances, obviously we have to grab it, and play hard. At the same time, we don’t want to think about the semi-final spot at the moment as it will also depend on the result of Australia’s game against England. And yes, rain can also be a big factor,” he said.

With the exception of Tamim Iqbal, there is not a lot of positives for the Tigers to take forward from the first two matches and Mashrafe said all the senior players, along with the rest of the team, have to chip in if they are to compete in such conditions.

“Obviously, before coming to the Champions Trophy we knew that we have to play extraordinary cricket, not our best cricket, as it will be difficult to compete in England. We knew it will be difficult as we are in a tough group but obviously there is still a game left and we are very positive. If we get the opportunity, we don’t want [Friday’s] to go past us,” Mashrafe explained.

When queried if their recent victory against the Kiwis in the tri-nation series will boost their morale, Mashrafe said conditions are totally different here in Wales and that they have to give their best yet again to attain a positive result.

“Yes, it could (boost morale). But the wicket we played in Ireland, it was totally different actually. It is raining here as well but it still looks like a good wicket. But in Ireland, it was a seaming a bit. And also, there are a few guys who didn’t play in Ireland,” said Mashrafe.

“Still, we won a match there. And the first match we played against New Zealand, we couldn’t defend 260 (257), but it was a good match. Hopefully this time, we’ll do something else if we get a chance,” he added.

The “Narail Express” informed that they have some plans in place for the in-form Kane Williamson but said the rest of the New Zealand batting line-up can also prove to be dangerous on a given day so the Tigers bowlers will need to be on their guard.

Mashrafe added that their middle order needs to fire if they are to harbour any hope of winning the game.Kane

The Bangladesh skipper is the only Tigers survivor from the famous win against Australia at Sophia Gardens in 2005 but according to Mashrafe, things have changed a lot since then.

With that said, memories of that win will boost the Tigers’ morale when they go out to the field on Friday, said Mashrafe.

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