Bangladesh are not an easy ODI team

The Mercury - - SPORT - Stu­art Hess

WHILE Im­ran Tahir did his best to ramp up Bangladesh’s cre­den­tials as a one-day in­ter­na­tional side, in Bloem­fontein the tourists pro­duced a per­for­mance that sug­gested the scar­ring from the pound­ing they had taken in two Tests were very far from healed.

As the Proteas com­pleted their first train­ing ses­sion in Kim­ber­ley yes­ter­day, about two hours down the N8, Bangladesh’s night­mare tour con­tin­ued as they were thumped by an In­vi­ta­tion XI team, for whom a teenager, with just nine se­nior matches to his name, was the star.

Matthew Breet­zke, still three weeks shy of his 19th


birth­day, scored 71 as part of a 147-run open­ing stand with Ai­den Markram, who scored 82 as the In­vi­ta­tion side, cap­tained by JP Du­miny, chased down a tar­get of 256, with 21 balls to spare, los­ing just four wick­ets in the process.

Hav­ing suf­fered de­feats by 333 runs and an in­nings and 254 runs in the Test matches, Bangladesh will be seek­ing sal­va­tion in the ODIs, the first of which will be played in Kim­ber­ley on Sun­day (10am start).

“They are not an easy team,” Tahir said by way of show­ing them re­spect. “They proved that by qual­i­fy­ing for the semi-fi­nals in the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy.”

In­deed they did, although they were helped sig­nif­i­cantly by rain wash­ing away half of their one group match against Aus­tralia fol­low­ing which they pulled off a stun­ning five-wicket win against New Zealand.

Although Shakib Al Hasan is back for the ODIs after opt­ing out of the Test se­ries in SA, he will have to pro­duce some­thing in­spi­ra­tional to drag his team out of the mire.

Shakib has also come in for crit­i­cism for not play­ing the Tests, and the ODIs will pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity for him to si­lence his many crit­ics.

SA will use the se­ries as part of the build­ing blocks ahead of the 2019 World Cup, with new coach Ot­tis Gib­son say­ing he and the na­tional se­lec­tors want to give as many play­ers as pos­si­ble a chance in the ODI side in the next year be­fore set­tling on a group for the World Cup.

Although he’ll be 40 when that tour­na­ment rolls around, Tahir still be­lieves he can con­tinue to per­form at the high­est level. “I’d love to be at the World Cup, but I know I will have to keep­ing do­ing my best and work hard on my fit­ness,” he said.

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