Graeme Smith believes the South Africa team have become accustomed to sub-continental teams and conditions as they face the Tigers at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today.
The Proteas arrived in town the day after their win over Ireland last Tuesday but chose to train only yesterday, on the eve of their final group game in the World Cup.
But it was clear that they had come to this leg of the tournament having done their homework on the opponents who were denied an easier entry into the last eight by the loss of West Indies at the hands of England on Thursday night.
“We’ve had a good look at Bangladesh. They’ve averaged 40-42 overs of spin in a game so we expect to face a lot of spin tomorrow (Saturday). They also have seven left-handers in their team so we’d also look at that and see how we can benefit,” said Smith during the official press conference.
Smith, who began his time as captain of South Africa in this country eight years ago, was well aware of the occasion it is promising to be for the hosts, a place in the quarterfinal beckoning through a win over the visitors.
“Obviously it’s a big game for Bangladesh; they need to win the game. So we expect them to be very motivated and also a very passionate crowd tomorrow (Saturday).
“But also they are a team that will be under pressure. If we can get our basics right, play well for long periods and force them to do things that they don’t want to do. That’ll be the positive for us and hopefully we can do that,” he said.
Bangladesh’s only win over South Africa has been during the last World Cup’s Super Eights phase when the Proteas went down by 67 runs in Guyana. But Smith made it quite clear that a lot of water has passed under that bridge.
“We don’t come into this game with any added emotion. There’s no talk of revenge. Four years is a long time and we’ve played against Bangladesh a fair bit.
“Tomorrow’s going to be another one-off occasion for us. It is an important game for Bangladesh, we are just excited to be a part of that and want to play well,” said the left-handed opener, who also informed that he has the full complement of 15 players to pick the eleven from.
If Bangladesh beat South Africa, they will move to eight points and West Indies will also finish on eight if they beat India. With three teams level on points and number of wins, the net run rate will decide the standings. West Indies and South Africa will take the top two spots and Bangladesh the third spot. India will edge out England for the fourth position barring a huge defeat against West Indies.
In that case, it would be expected of the Englishmen to support South Africa, a state of affairs that goes right up Smith’s alley. “I think English fans are getting used to supporting South Africans these days,” he said with roars of laughter all around.
“As a team you try not to get too caught up in that stuff. It is hard to contemplate the amount of people are watching and supporting.”
Courtesy of The Daily Star