Mashrafe Mortaza: Securing semifinal berth will be difficult for Bangladesh

The Bangladesh captain, however, refuses to write off his side’s chances despite a 48-run loss to Australia.

Bangladesh batted well to post 333 for 8 in its chase on Thursday. Mahmudullah (left) and Mushfiqur Rahim added 127 runs for the fifth wicket.   -  AP

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza refused to write off his side’s chances of qualifying for the World Cup semifinals despite a 48-run loss to reigning champion Australia at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

“I think, still, you never know,” Mashrafe told reporters.

“I think, we have still three matches left. We have to play hard and then let’s see. And it’s going to be difficult for sure, even if we win all those three matches,” added Mashrafe, whose side next plays Afghanistan in Southampton on June 24.

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Only the top four at the end of the 10-team round-robin group phase will advance to the knockout stages and Thursday’s defeat left Bangladesh, which has beaten both South Africa and West Indies, in fifth place. It is two points behind fourth-placed India, having already played two games more than Virat Kohli’s men.

The current top four of Australia, New Zealand, England and India are starting to look uncatchable even though there are several rounds of group matches left. “I think at this stage we thought a few matches would have been lost by the top four and the tournament would then have gone in a different way,” said Mashrafe.

“But there are still a few matches left, you never know. Let’s see.”

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It might have been a different story for Bangladesh in Nottingham had David Warner not been dropped off Mashrafe’s bowling on 10. The opener capitalised to score 166 in a total of 381 for 5 that effectively put the match beyond the reach of Bangladesh, which nevertheless responded with a gutsy 333 for 8 featuring Mushfiqur Rahim’s unbeaten century.

“We knew we have to pick up wickets,” added Mashrafe, the sole survivor from the Tigers’ celebrated 2005 One-Day International (ODI) win over Australia in Cardiff.

“If not, then it’s going to be very difficult, which is exactly what happened. David Warner is batting so well.”