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Bangladesh's Soumya Sarkar was in an upbeat mood when talking to reporters today regarding the India match. Bangladesh will play India on July 2 and Soumya said that the Tigers cannot think they lag behind in any departments to India when they play the Asian giants.

"If we think that India are ahead of us [in some areas] then we will lag behind them even before the match begins. We have to play to win and with the fact in mind that we are in the race. We have come here to play in a big tournament so we can't think they edge us in any areas," Soumya said positively.

Bangladesh have played some fantastic cricket at this World Cup. They beat Afghanistan to pick up their third win in the tournament and hope to overcome both India and Pakistan in their two remaining matches in order to have a chance of making the top four. Even against strong opponents like Australia, they put a good account of themselves, reaching 333 runs in chase of 382. While the bowling has not always been promising, Soumya sees hope.

"I think if we think of our abilities and the way we are playing in three departments then I think it's possible to win and we will win," he said.

Asked about the difference between the two sides, Soumya did not want to look down upon Bangladesh's strengths.

"They are India and we are Bangladesh and that is the difference between the two sides. In the field, who will play well [will win]. Since it is a big tournament, if you go by the names then you will be going on the backfoot. So without thinking in those terms, the thing is to play the match with a plan and find out where they are lacking and properly execute our plan in all three departments, then we will win."

 

 

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When Shakib Al Hasan tucked the last ball of the 21st over from Afghanistan pacer Dawlat Zadran to deep square leg, he became the first Bangladesh player to score 1,000 runs in World Cup matches.

Shakib, currently the top scorer in his fourth World Cup, reached the mark in his 27th innings and is well clear of second-placed Mushfiqur Rahim. Mushfiqur, who was batting with Shakib when the all-rounder reached the landmark, currently has 766 runs in cricket's mega event.

It is a measure of how prolific Shakib has been in the current edition that when the event began, Shakib had 540 runs in World Cups to Mushfiqur's 513.

Third and fourth on the list of Bangladesh's top World Cup scorers are Tamim Iqbal (688 runs) and Mahmudullah Riyad (560 runs). Mohammad Ashraful is in fifth place with 299 runs in 16 innings.

Shakib has scored his 1,000 runs at an average of 45.5, second only to Mahmudllah's 56 among Bangladeshi batsmen.

The world's top all-rounder is currently the top scorer in the 2019 World Cup with 464 runs at an average of 116.

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Bangladesh handed the West Indies a thumping seven-wicket defeat, courtesy of Shakib Al Hasan's brilliant unbeaten 124 and Liton Das' unbeaten 94 at The Cooper Associates County Ground in Taunton yesterday.

Following such a commanding victory, praises pour in from all around the world for the Tigers.

 

Here are some of the reactions on social media:

 

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West Indies were thundering towards a huge total, putting the Tigers out of the game at the 40th over of the innings when Mashrafe Bin Mortaza brought his wily cutter master Mustafizur Rahman back into the attack and it paid rich dividends.

Mustafizur went on to remove Shai Hope after he had stormed to a 25-ball 50. 82 runs had been scored in the last six overs prior to Fizz's over and Fizz was not done after Hope's wicket. He bowled an absolutely brilliant cutter that took the edge of Andre Russell's bat before Mushfiqur dived to take a great catch. That over turned out to be the turning point for Mashrafe.

"The turning point was Mustafizur getting those two wickets," the skipper said in post-match ceremony.

The scalp of two big hitters really slowed Windies down at the end. Instead of getting to a score of 340 or even 350, the Windies innings stopped at 321 for eight.

Shakib Al Hasan and Liton Das then stood tall, as Tigers coasted to victory in cathartic style.

Mashrafe praised the star duo for their effort. "He [Shakib] has delivered for the team, every match he has come and done something which is really exceptional. Hopefully others will join him. Last two matches Mushfiqur batted well, today Liton batted brilliantly. Normally he bats at the top, it was a tough ask to bat at 5, but he coped with that and delivered," Mashrafe concluded.

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Shakib Al Hasan reached the landmark of 6000 runs in ODI cricket during the World Cup game against the West Indies at Taunton.

The left-hander has been in brilliant form in this tournament with two fifties and a hundred. He struck 75 against South Africa in a winning cause before hitting 64 and 121 during the losses to New Zealand and England respectively

He started today's innings needing 23 runs to reach the personal landmark and reached it in the 15th over of the innings with a single off Oshane Thomas.

The 32-year-old ace all-rounder averages 36.66 in ODIs with eight tons and 44 fifties. He is unbeaten on 24 off 19 deliveries at the time of filing this report.

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David Warner gave net bowler Jaykishan Plaha a signed Australia World Cup shirt on Saturday, a week after hitting the paceman in the head with a drive during a practice session at the Oval.

Australia halted their training session after the incident and Plaha was taken to hospital for checks, which showed no major injury.

The left-handed batsman met Plaha ahead of Australia's game against Sri Lanka at the same venue and presented him with an autographed team shirt.

"Last week, Jaykishan Plaha was hit on the head by a David Warner drive during an Australia training session," said a post on the official World Cup Twitter feed.

"Today, Warner met both Jaykishan and his mum before play, presented Jaykishan with an Australia shirt and wished him a speedy recovery."

Australia captain Aaron Finch said last week that Warner was "pretty shaken-up" after the net bowler was felled.

"Warner gave me his match shirt from the World Cup. Really appreciate it. What happened was that I got hit on the head by David Warner on the front drive," Plaha said in a video posted on Twitter.

"Glad to be standing here actually. Hope to be back on the field soon. My dream is to be a professional cricketer as well."

Warner, who has returned from a ball-tampering ban along with teammate Steve Smith, has scored 281 runs at the World Cup in five matches so far, including a century and two fifties.

Australian cricket was plunged into mourning in 2014 when Test batsman Phillip Hughes died after being hit on the base of the skull during a domestic match.

Warner was playing in that match, between New South Wales and South Australia.

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In the lead-up to the 2019 World Cup, we take a look back on World Cups past through the eyes of Bangladesh's former World Cup stars. Hannan Sarkar played 17 Tests and 20 ODIs for Bangladesh while the only time he featured for the country at the World Cup was in the 2003 edition. The former opener shared some of his World Cup memories and more in an interview with The Daily Star's Nabid Yeasin.

The Daily Star (TDS): How did it feel to play in the 2003 World Cup -- your only World Cup -- for Bangladesh?

Hannan Sarkar (HS): Actually every player dreams of playing an international game for their country, be it an ODI or Test. It is an even bigger dream for any player to play in a World Cup for their country. I always dreamt of playing the first ball for Bangladesh in a World Cup game and that came true when I was handed the first ball of the match against Canada in our 2003 edition opener.

TDS: What is your best World Cup memory?

HS: In the 2003 World Cup we lost all the matches and there were really not many positives that I can remember about that edition. Still, I can recall one thing, it was Eid-ul-Adha the day after our game against Canada. We had actually planned to celebrate Eid by saying our prayers that morning and also had contributed a lump sum amount of money to the Muslim community in South Africa in order to arrange sacrifices and celebrate Eid as we normally do in our country. But as we lost the game, we did not even see each other's faces the next day and nothing went as planned. So it was a very bad day for us and I think none of us had ever spent such an Eid day in our life. Actually, we had no such positive memory of that World Cup but this one negative is something that I will always recall.

TDS: Do you have any interesting or funny incidents of that World Cup that you still remember?

HS: One thing I can remember is that the day after we lost to Canada, a team meeting was called in the evening. In that meeting, where there were many BCB high ups present, we were shown a huge piece of paper where many fans of Bangladesh had signed and also wrote some messages and good wishes for us. It was shown to us to give us inspiration but unfortunately we could not win a single game in that World Cup. We had hoped to win the last game against Kenya but that also did not happen and we returned without winning even a single game.

TDS: What do you think will be the biggest challenge for Bangladesh in the coming World Cup in England?

HS: We have to play nine games, although we all hope to play more than that as we all want Bangladesh to reach the semifinals. It will be tough but if all the players can stay fit throughout the tournament then I think we can play in the semifinals. I think in this World Cup it will be a big challenge for the players to stay fit. There were some injury concerns going into the World Cup but I hope that all the players stay fit as it will be tough to play so many competitive matches in such a short period. I am not worried about any other thing as all the players are very capable and have abilities, but I am concerned about the players maintaining their fitness, which will be a big challenge.

TDS: Who do you think is the best opening partner for Tamim Iqbal?

HS: Tamim now plays an anchor role in the opening slot where he is expected to hold the wicket at one end and play a long innings. And we know that Soumya [Sarkar] actually likes to play attacking cricket. Actually both Liton [Das] and Soumya play attacking cricket but currently Soumya has been in good form and connecting the ball better with his bat. Starting from the last two Dhaka Premier League games to the matches in Ireland, Soumya had connected the ball better. So initially I think that Soumya is a better choice right now but it is a long tournament and there's an issue of adjusting to the wicket and conditions but the positive is that both of them are in really good form.

TDS: In order to reach the semifinals, Bangladesh need to beat at least five teams. Who do you think those five teams could be?

HS: I think there will still remain some calculations even after beating five teams and so, only by beating six teams can the spot in the semifinal be surely confirmed. But we need to first beat five teams and then think about the sixth. I think at this moment Bangladesh need to beat Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and West Indies. Although we defeated West Indies in the tri-series, their batting will be a lot stronger with the inclusion of the likes of [Chris] Gayle, [Nicholas] Pooran and Andre Russell but the bowling line up remains more or less the same. We actually must beat these four teams. After that it can any of the other five teams that we can defeat. It could be anyone and I cannot actually mention any names because all the other five teams -- India, Australia, England, South Africa and New Zealand -- are very balanced sides. It could be any one of them and it depends on how we play on the day or how badly the other teams play.

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Dale Steyn has been ruled out of South Africa's World Cup opener against England on Thursday.

The 35-year-old paceman injured his shoulder during the recent Indian Premier League and will not be risked at the Oval.

"He's not quite ready yet, not far away but not ready," said head coach Ottis Gibson.

"We think with a six-week tournament there's no real need to force the issue just now. He won't be available for the first game. We've still got 14 others so we'll choose from them."

Steyn has not bowled competitively since pulling out of Royal Challengers Bangalore's IPL campaign in late April, having played only two games there.

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Jason Roy sealed an England thrashing of Afghanistan as the tournament hosts cruised to victory in their final match before the World Cup.

Roy made 89 not out on his Surrey home ground on Monday as England hammered outsiders Afghanistan by nine wickets with nearly 200 balls to spare.

England, two days after losing their previous practice match to world champions Australia, returned to winning ways in convincing fashion ahead of their tournament opener against South Africa at the Oval on Thursday.

A target of 161 was never likely to test England, with Roy proving as much in a 46-ball innings that included 11 fours and four sixes.

Before play started, England were boosted by the news that fast bowler Mark Wood had been passed fit to face South Africa after a foot injury and that one-day captain Eoin Morgan was back in the team following a fractured finger.

Morgan did not field, however, and was not required to bat with the only wicket Afghanistan took coming when Jonny Bairstow was stumped by Rahmat Shah off Mohammad Nabi for 39.

Roy ended the match in the 18th over of England's reply with a six over midwicket.

- Archer strikes -

Earlier, Jofra Archer and Joe Root took three wickets apiece as Afghanistan slumped to 160 all out.

Fast bowler Archer struck twice with the new ball to dismiss Hazratullah and Rahmat before ending some late resistance from Nabi.

Opener Noor Ali scrapped his way to 30 before he played on to all-rounder Ben Stokes.

Hashmatullah could not get going and that prompted Asghar Afghan to attack the occasional off-spin of Test captain Root.

But, having missed out on a first-ball full toss, Asghar tried to drive Root over the top but found Roy in the deep instead.

Afghanistan lost their next four wickets in a mere seven deliveries, Hashmatullah and Najibullah Zadran carelessly run out, Gulbadin Naib holing out to Moeen Ali and Rashid Khan steering Root to slip for a golden duck.

Afghanistan were in danger of being dismissed for under 100 before Nabi, with 44, helped the last two wickets add 68 runs.

Nabi's defiant hitting, which included three sixes, kept England at bay before he was last man out when a thick edge off Archer carried to Bairstow on the boundary.

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Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes has urged star player Shakib Al Hasan to prove his top dog status at the upcoming World Cup. Shakib is entering his fourth World Cup as world's top ODI all-rounder.

One wicket away from joining an exclusive club of limited-overs to have taken 250 wickets and surpassed 5,000 runs, you'd be forgiven for thinking the 32-year-old's stock could not be any higher.

But the all-rounder has been in and out of action since last year, missing crucial matches due to injuries he suffered at the beginning of 2018. Rhodes believes that Shakib needs to remind everyone of his presence.

"Shakib is fine," Rhodes was quoted as saying by ICC after Bangladesh's washed out warm-up game against Pakistan in Cardiff.

"He's in a great position physically. He had a little problem in Ireland but he's got over that and is raring to go.

"He's looking forward to a wonderful tournament. I think he's got a bit of a point to prove and he probably thinks that as well.

"He seems to have been a little bit forgotten but now he's back as the world's No.1 all-all-rounder in ODI cricket - and that's where we think he belongs.

"But he's got a point to prove to make sure everybody else believes that."

Another player that the Tigers camp will be a bit concerned about is the fitness of Mahmudullah Riyad who has not been able to bowl lately due to a shoulder injury.

Rhodes informed that Riyad is still recuperating and relaxing his shoulders as per requirement. "Mahmudullah's shoulder is coming along a little slowly. I don't think it would have been possible for him to bowl against Pakistan.

"We're very optimistic that we can get him up and running for the early stages of the World Cup.

"It may affect our balance slightly, but the good thing about Mahmudullah is that he doesn't need a lot of practice to be good at bowling."

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Bangladesh will be playing first of their two warm-up matches against Pakistan at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff tomorrow. And ahead of their encounter, Bangladesh all-rounder Mehedi Hasan Miraz said that the team would not be taking it lightly as it would be a perfect opportunity for the Tigers to adapt to the English conditions ahead of the mega event.

"Actually we do not have much time. We probably have five days before the World Cup starts for us. I think the two practice matches we have are really important for us. It will be easy for us in the World Cup if we could use these two games to understand and adapt to the conditions here. These games are also important for us as we need to give our 100 per cent and find out our lackings here," told Miraz after the practice session in Cardiff today.

Bangladesh have had a very good record against Pakistan recently, with the Tigers winning all of their last four ODI encounters. However, Bangladesh will not be taking tomorrow's game lightly and try to continue their winning ways against Pakistan.

"We are not taking this game lightly. For us, all the matches are important. If we can do well in the practice games then we will find it a bit easy in the World Cup matches. Obviously the World Cup matches will be some high voltage encounters and the pressure will be immense but if we do well here then we can find it a bit easy in the tournament." concluded Miraz.      

 

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Former Pakistan player Shahid Afridi reacted angrily to Gautam Gambhir’s suggestion that India should not play against Pakistan in the upcoming World Cup in England.

Tensions between India and Pakistan have been intense since the early 1900s’, mostly due to the political issues. However, it also showed on the pitch every time these sides came face to face. The match between these two Asian heavy weights have always been electrifying, with each nation taking every match to heart.

Things recently got worse when there were attacks on Indian army personnel in Pulwama, a city in India, by a Pakistani militant group. The whole of India came together to blame Pakistan for such act of violence. Gambhir, a prolific Indian batsman, who played 147 ODIs and 58 test matches for the national team, did not hold back in this matter as well. On many occasions he was vocal about the fact the India should cut all down ties with Pakistan, be it on the cricket field or off it. The left handed batsman is even ready to forfeit the World Cup trophy to Pakistan if such situation arrives.

“We can’t play with the sentiments of our country. Two points are not important than the lives of our soldiers but for this, the entire country needs to be on the same page. India should forfeit the game even it is the final. Even if we boycott playing the World Cup final against Pakistan, the country must stand together, there can’t be a difference of opinions,” Gambhir told Zee News.

Afridi when asked to comment on such statement reacted furiously. Both, Afridi and Gambhir, served their countries exceptionally well in international cricket but were never in good terms with each other from the early days of their career. As a result, the man from Pakistan did not hold back on taking a lash at Gambhir.

 “Do you think Gautam used his wits while talking about this? Does this look like something which a sensible person would say? Do educated people talk like this?” said the hard-hitting batman from Pakistan in reply to such statement.

The duo took a dig at each other very recently where Gambhir asked Afridi to visit India for a mental health checkup in response to which Afridi replied that Gambhir needed to visit Pakistan.

Amidst all this, we can expect a high voltage match whenever these two sides meet in the upcoming World Cup.