Mahmudullah eyes quarter-finals

Bangladesh all-rounder Mahmudullah has set his sights on a quarter-final place in the World Cup as Bangladesh nearing to end of their preparation at home. ‘We are aiming to play with a goal of reaching quarter-finals,’ Mahmudullah told reporters at Mirpur on Monday. ‘It can be possible if we are consistent throughout the tournament.’ ‘If we can start the tournament on a winning note in the opening game we can achieve that,’ said Mahmudullah. Bangladesh will start their campaign against Afghanistan on February 18. The Tigers are placed in Group-B along with Afghanistan, Scotland, Sri Lanka, England, Australia and New Zealand. Tigers have to win at least four matches in order to progress, though they can do it with three wins as well. Bangladesh realistically targeted Afghanistan and Scotland and hoped to cause one or two upsets to see them through to the quarters. Top contenders recently showed some good form in the pre-tournament one-day internationals sending a strong message to the opponents, but Mahmudullah, a former vice-captain of the side refused to get panicked. The all-rounder said that to reach their initial goal a positive frame of mind and proper assessment of their own strength and weakness will be crucial.

‘We don’t have much to think too much about the big teams,’ he said. ‘All we can do is trying to figure out our strength and weakness and work accordingly.’ ‘If we remain positive and aggressive it is possible,’ he said. Mahmudullah added that Tigers are hardly worried about their lack of exposure with competitive cricket for the last few days. Except Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, all Test playing countries have been kept them busy in bilateral series in the recent time in order to keep their players firmly focused on the World Cup. Bangladesh on the other hand decided to complete their preparations on home turf before going two weeks early to Australia for a conditioning camp. ‘I don’t think it will be a problem,’ said Mahmudullah. ‘As far as international cricket is concerned we just completed Zimbabwe series. We were busy with Dhaka Premier League thereafter. ‘Basically we are training very hard. Apart from that we are going there earlier and expected to play two practice matches,’ he added. Mahmudullah is also looking forward to make some valuable contributions as he just returned to some sort of form with the Zimbabwe series after a prolonged lean patch. ‘Basically there is no specific goal for me,’ he said. ‘After the Zimbabwe series my confidence has gone up as it came after a yearlong bad patch. ‘I want to contribute and willing to do that through any means and ready to bat at any place.’

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