Cricket World Cup 2019: Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza hopeful about semi-final qualification

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Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza.

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza insists reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup is still an attainable aim.

The Tigers were not among those tipped to prosper but they once again proved their calibre by beating South Africa in their tournament opener before running New Zealand close.

After being brushed aside by tournament hosts England on Saturday, Bangladesh now find themselves in the unusual position of favourites against Sri Lanka in their next group game in Bristol on Tuesday.

And Mashrafe believes that qualifying for the knockout stages is not a fanciful prospect despite just one win from their opening three matches.

He said: “If you’re asking all 10 captains this question, they will look through into the semis, which is an honest call.

“It’s not going to be easy, but obviously we would love to see ourselves in the semis.

“If we had managed to win one of those matches from New Zealand or England, it could have been a lot easier. At the moment, it looks to be very difficult. But again, I say ‘it’s possible’. It’s very much possible.”

Mashrafe is adamant that Bangladesh’s mindset will not change ahead of their clash against Sri Lanka, adding: “The New Zealand match, even the England match…I’m not sure that what people were thinking. We are expecting to win.

“Especially the New Zealand match, we thought that we could win, because against South Africa when we won, our concentration level, our confidence level was so high that we (thought we could) beat New Zealand.

“I don’t want to say there is no pressure; 100 per cent, pressure will be there. But at the same time, I have to say that we have to cope with those pressure and make sure we deliver.

“A few things can happen, go away from us, but we have to make sure the end of the day, we are in the winning side.”

Sri Lanka settled for a point against Pakistan last time out following an abandonment at Bristol, and the forecast is set for more rain in the south west.
Batting coach Jon Lewis thinks Sri Lanka are still riding the wave from their win over Afghanistan last week.

He said: “The mood’s pretty good. Obviously to be here five or six days ago and not get a chance to play was frustrating, but we’re still off the back of the win against Afghanistan.

“We needed that, because we were possibly a little bit low before that (after losing by 10 wickets to New Zealand). So in effect we’re still off the back of the last win. The last game we played was a win. We are in pretty good shape.”

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