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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Friday, June 27, 2008
Sports

Star Cricket Asia Cup

Ash defends decision

The Ban-gladesh team, beaten handsomely by Sri Lanka on Wednesday in their last Pool A match, head off to Karachi today afternoon for the second phase of the Asia Cup.

More than the margin of defeat (131 runs), it was the choice of bowling first on a wicket that has 'flat', and 'runs' written all over it, that became the talking point in the match but Tigers skipper Mohammad Ashraful said Tuesday's game against the UAE had prompted his decision after winning the second toss in a row.

"Obviously it was my decision as I thought getting a few early wickets, maybe two or three, would put them in trouble as they were playing with just six specialist batsmen. The ball had swung until the first 15 overs when we batted against UAE and there was movement available in the wicket. The bowlers however, were disappointing and could not bowl the line we needed," said Ashraful.

Bangladesh were never in contention after Sri Lanka had made 357 for 9 but Ashraful thought the Tigers allowed them to get on top. Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara put on 114 inside 15 overs and Bangladesh were always playing catch-up since.

"Jayasuriya (72 off 47 balls) and Sangakkara (101 off 91 balls) played brilliantly but we also bowled poorly at them and they took the game away from us. This was a wicket where you would fancy chasing 270. It was a superb track and I thought I really missed out," said Ashraful who was adjudged caught behind for 8 although television replays suggested that the ball had brushed his trousers on way to the 'keeper.

Lahore has seen temperatures reaching upto 46 degrees Celsius during both match days and for teams playing on consecutive days is a real test of physical and mental fitness. The searing heat has even discouraged the usual spectators from venturing out and matches have been played in front of empty stands. Ashraful said the format was something players had to get used to.

"It was very, very hot and it takes a lot out of you. But as professional players we have to be prepared for everything. The first target when we came here was obviously to beat UAE and ensure that we qualify for the next round in Karachi. That we have done and now our focus would be to try and get everyone playing their best game against India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the next round and hopefully Karachi will be cooler.

"We have had positives from these two games with the batting coming along nicely. In bowling Razzak (Abdur) has been excellent so far and Mashrafe (Mortaza) has bowled well and I hope they continue performing like that. The others need to step up their bowling."

The Bangladesh team will take the 6pm flight to Karachi and will train on Friday. The morning's recovery session was held at the hotel's swimming pool. The Tigers play the losers of today's India-Pakistan Pool B match in Karachi on Saturday before meeting Sri Lanka again on Monday. Bangladesh's last game of the second round will be July 4.

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