Bangladesh ready for the fireworks | Bangladesh vs Ireland Match Preview

Shakib Al Hasan addresses the media on the eve of Bangladesh's match against Ireland, Dhaka, February 24, 2011

Bangladesh were defeated against Ireland in the previous world cup and T20 world cup. So, Bangladesh is now very eager to beat Ireland in their own soil. Its a time to take revenge too for Bangladesh. On the eve of the big Group B clash – even though it is between two low-ranked teams, neither captain wants to underestimate the other side. Both Shakib Al Hasan and William Porterfield know that if their team loses this game, they can pretty much bid farewell to the quarter-finals, barring rare permutations of course.

Shakib said the game became more important for his side because they are expected to beat Ireland in home conditions. “This World Cup is a good chance for us to qualify for the second round, and if we have to qualify for the second round, we have to win this game,” he said. “This is a very important game for us. It is a must-win situation, because if we don’t it will be very difficult for us to qualify for the second round.”

There has been talk that this is a grudge match for Bangladesh, having lost to Ireland in both the world events the sides have met in. Ireland won comprehensively in the 2007 World Cup and the 2009 World Twenty20. Shakib, though, chose not to focus on revenge but on how his side can make it to the next round.

Shakib knows, though, that spin will be the way to win. “When they played at Mirpur in 2008, we beat them three games in a row,” Shakib said. “So we have the home advantage. I don’t think they like to play in these conditions. Hopefully we will come off good in tomorrow’s game.

“They have been playing good cricket, so we are not taking them lightly. They have been playing together for a long time, so that’s a good sign for them. Some guys have been playing county cricket, so they will have the experience to deliver in this sort of pressure. So it won’t be easy for us.”

The big challenge for Ireland is that they don’t have the surprise factor like they did in 2007. Teams will have analysed their strengths and weaknesses by now, which will make it that much more difficult for them to win regularly. “Now we have gained more exposure, we are playing more cricket,” Porterfield said. “We have kind of put ourselves on the map in world cricket. We have come on since 2007. There is not much about our side that other sides won’t know about. That itself brings extra pressure if you like. Definitely puts you in a different scenario, a different test. That’s what you want. To test yourself against the best in the world.”

Perhaps for the first time, Ireland will also be playing in front of a full house, 25,000 people shouting at the top of their voices. “I think there’s a lot of people who will put them [Bangladesh] as favourites, and us as underdogs. That’s to be expected in a lot of cases with sides playing away from home. We are going to play in front of a full house tomorrow. That brings extra pressure in itself.”

Porterfield said the team has become more equipped to play spin since their 3-0 loss to Bangladesh in 2008. “I think not many lads had much exposure to the subcontinent at that time,” he said. “We came out here, the conditions were pretty tough. We played those games in April, which was very hot, and the humidity was very tough. That’s something we weren’t quite expecting, and that took us slightly by surprise, in terms of how hard it was. Three years have passed. The experience we have gained since then is helpful. I think that we are lot better prepared this time.”

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