Bangladesh spinners hope to catch Ireland napping

Bangladesh would be hoping to turn things around when they take on Ireland in their World Cup Group B match at Dhaka

Dhaka: Feb 24, 2011

Bangladesh will bank on spin to outwit Ireland in Friday’s World Cup match, with skipper Shakib Al Hasan warning the visitors they will struggle in Dhaka. “I don’t think Ireland like to play in these conditions,” Shakib said of the leading non-Test nation ahead of the day-night match at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium.

“This is not to say we will take them lightly. Ireland have been playing good cricket. But in our conditions, which suit slow bowlers, we are a good bowling side.”

The last time Ireland played in Dhaka, Bangladesh won all three one-day internationals at the same venue, giving Shakib confidence for Friday’s match. “They could not handle spin and we plan to attack them again with it,” said the captain, who leads the home team’s spin attack with fellow left-armer Abdur Razzak.

Bangladesh cannot afford another defeat, having lost their opening match against India by 87 runs last Saturday, setting the stage for a keenly contested match.

The co-hosts need to beat both the non-Test nations, Ireland and the Netherlands, and one of the established sides from England, South Africa and the West Indies, to progress to the next round. “This is a must-win situation for us,” Shakib conceded. “If we don’t win tomorrow, it will not be easy to qualify for the quarter-finals.” Bangladesh must avenge two successive losses to Ireland at major events to resurrect their campaign.

Ireland defeated Bangladesh by 74 runs in the now-scrapped Super Eights round in the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean and then won by six wickets in the World Twenty20 in England in 2009.

Shakib said the team management will decide the playing XI on Friday morning to give seamer Shafiul Islam time to recover from a minor shoulder injury sustained during training on Wednesday.

The captain refused to answer repeated questions from the Bangladeshi media on whether former captain Mohammad Ashraful will play after being omitted against India. “Nothing will be decided till we know if Shafiul can play,” said Shakib. “The composition of the side will depend on how he shapes up tomorrow morning.”

Ashraful, Bangladesh’s most successful one-day batsman with 3,360 runs from 164 matches, had a long batting stint at the nets on Thursday to suggest he may take the field against Ireland.

Ashraful could replace off-spinner Naeem Islam, or even seamer Rubel Hossain if Bangladesh choose to attack Ireland with a three-man spin attack.

Bangladesh emerged from the defeat against India with a few positives, including a spirited chase of the massive 371-run target as Tamim Iqbal made 70 and Shakib hit a fluent 55 off 50 balls.

But the Tigers’ bowlers took a beating at the hands of the rampaging India, with Shafiul going for 69 runs in his seven overs and new-ball partner Rubel conceding 60 runs in 10 wicketless overs.