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Reality bites for Bangladesh

Bangladesh are fast realising the intense atmosphere of the World Cup is not the ideal stage for learning the one-day gam.

Two stinging defeats against champions Australia and New Zealand in the space of three days have brought home the reality, a fortnight after they were hailed for making a breakthrough.

When the ninth-ranked one-day team shocked India to enter the World Cup second round for the first time, they seemed ready to join permanently the upper echelons of the limited overs game having gained test status in 2000.

Millions in their emerging cricket nation saluted them, showing the same delight seen half a world away after debutants Ireland also confounded pundits to qualify by eliminating Pakistan.

However, the euphoria has given way to concern for the talented but inexperienced Bangladesh side after their crushing defeats by 10 and nine wickets against Australia and the Kiwis in their first two Super Eights matches.

Top-order batsmen fell to rash shots against Australia and then paid the penalty for being too cautious against New Zealand. Bangladesh skipper Habibul Bashar knows the young team have a lot to learn and fast.

Few doubt their potential after three teenagers, opener Tamim Iqbal, Saqibul Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim hit fifties to achieve a comprehensive five-wicket win over India.

The challenge now is to maintain consistency to convince the cricket world they can regularly compete seriously against the elite sides, although they are expected to beat Ireland, an associate team, in the Super Eights.

Former Kiwi skipper John Wright, who coached India for five years until 2005, was hopeful. "It would be a pity if their first World Cup was just a flash in the pan," he said on Monday.

"Their consistency in results however depends, like all teams, on consistency of performance," he said. "One of the aspects of the Bangladeshi game that they have to work on is to learn how to construct a total when batting first.

"It will take them time. Bangladesh have the talent but they showed their inexperience today."

Bashar hopes his young players, who have five one-day wins against the established eight of the world game, grasp the lessons fast despite the close scrutiny at the World Cup.

"Sometimes you can't expect everything to go to plan," he said. "If it doesn't happen, you need to come back again."

source - tvnz.co.nz
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