Former Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar has urged the Tigers to set aside their disappointing Champions Trophy campaign and give a fearless performance against New Zealand and seal the semi-final spot. A win over the mighty Black Caps in their final Group A fixture in Cardiff will put Bangladesh in the last-four should England beat Australia in the other fixture on Saturday.
"Bangladesh haven't had a great run in the competition so far, but they have the opportunity to put their disappointing performances behind them. The one standout feature of their campaign thus far has been the lack of consistency," wrote Bashar on icc.cricket.com.
The 44-year-old wants the players to take inspiration from Bangladesh's famous win at the same venue 12 years ago against a strong Australian side. In that match, Bashar scored 47 to stitch together 130 runs for the fifth wicket with centurion Mohammad Ashraful to register a historic win.
"In those days, we hardly played the big boys on a regular basis, therefore, that stunning win over a full-strength and very intimidating Australian team will remain one of the highest points in Bangladesh cricket," he said.
"The batting was fairly good in the first game against England, but the bowling was a big letdown. In the second match against Australia, with the exception of Tamim Iqbal, the batting failed to rise to the occasion, but the bowling was reasonably disciplined. Had that match gone the distance, there is every possibility that Australia would have still scaled down the modest target, but the washout has given Bangladesh a theoretical chance at making it to the next stage, and it must now marry its good fortune with good skills," he added.
Bangladesh's chances of qualification are slim and with nothing to lose now, Bashar hopes to see Bangladesh play their best game of the competition with a free mind and come out victorious.