Steve Rhodes Really Proud

Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes says he is “really proud” of the advances made by both his side and Monday’s World Cup opponents Afghanistan.

Rhodes’ team can put pressure on England in the race for a semi-final place if they win in Southampton.

Opponents Afghanistan have improved during the tournament and came close to a shock win over India on Saturday.

“Bangladesh have done a fine job in the last 20 years and now so are Afghanistan,” said Rhodes.

“These two countries are where cricket is thriving and for Afghanistan to do what they’ve done is an amazing effort with the troubles and problems they’ve had back home.

“Yes, Bangladesh are a little bit older in those terms, but it’s wonderful to see the crowds and the support and the way cricket is thought of in those two countries.”

Bangladesh made their World Cup debut in England in 1999 and were granted full member status by the International Cricket Council (ICC) only a year later.

They have competed in every World Cup since, reaching the quarter-finals in Australia and New Zealand four years ago at the expense of England.

A similar situation – albeit seen as unlikely – could unfold again, following England’s shock defeat to Sri Lanka last week.

Victory against Afghanistan would move Bangladesh to within a point of England, who play Australia at Lord’s on Tuesday in a match which may be affected by poor weather.

“They know the importance of the game, but my job is to make sure we concentrate and we play well because, if we play well, we’ll have a good chance of winning the game,” said former England Test wicketkeeper Rhodes.

“If we try too hard, we put too much pressure on ourselves, and we might not just get the result we want.

“We certainly don’t fear Afghanistan. We’re ready to take them on.”

Afghanistan became the first team to be eliminated from the competition on Saturday, when they fell to a narrow 11-run loss against India following Mohammed Shami’s final-over hat-trick.


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