By Amlan Chakraborty
BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) – Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza does not share his India counterpart Virat Kohli’s concerns about the short boundary on one side at Edgbaston where the neighbours will clash in a World Cup group match on Tuesday.
Kohli was critical of the ground dimensions after England ended India’s unbeaten campaign on a pitch which had a 59-metre boundary on one side.
“If batsmen are able to reverse sweep you for six on a 59-metre boundary there is not much you can do as a spinner,” Kohli said, defending his slow bowlers after they lost by 31 runs.
The same pitch will be used for a match which Bangladesh must win to keep their semi-final hopes alive, while a victory for Kohli’s men will secure them a place in the last four.
“It will be the same wicket and same ground for both teams,” Mashrafe told reporters on Monday.
“We haven’t played any match on it. Yes, one side is pretty smaller, so batsmen will normally target that area, but I think both teams will get the same benefit here.”
India managed just one six in their innings, compared to England’s 13, which included Ben Stokes’ reverse-sweep off Yuzvendra Chahal that cleared the shorter boundary.
India’s wrist-spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Chahal bled 160 runs for just one wicket in their combined 20 overs, partly handicapped after the Indian quicks failed to get early breakthroughs.
Mashrafe said his batsmen would be cautious against the Indian spinners despite the short boundary temptation.
“I think their spinners have done a good job if you look at their stats in the last two-three years. We can’t expect to do what England did and get success.
“We need to stick to our plan and play the way we have been playing. Our batting has been very good throughout the tournament … we need to play according to our plan.”
India’s loss against England has complicated Bangladesh’s semi-final passage, leaving them with the unenviable task of beating India and Pakistan, both former champions, in their final group matches to make the last four.
Mashrafe said he never favoured being at the mercy of results involving other teams anyway.
“We’ve come this far by virtue of our seven points – from three wins and a washed out match. We won because we played well in those matches,” he said.
“To win tomorrow, we will have to play well again. In a tournament like this, it’s pointless to rely on how other teams fare.
“Of course a loss tomorrow would mean end of our campaign, and things could have been different had India beaten England.
“I’m seeing it as a good challenge. If we can beat India tomorrow. You need tougher challenges to improve as a team.”
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty; Editing by Alison Williams)