Playing the new ball well key against New Zealand – Sarkar

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Souomya Sarkar acknowledged that New Zealand can be lethal with the new ball © AFP

Bangladesh opener Soumya Sarkar believes that their disappointing tour of New Zealand won’t have any bearing as they gear up to face the Blackcaps in their second match of the ongoing World Cup.

Bangladesh were whitewashed by New Zealand in the three-match ODI series earlier this year and not once did the visitors manage to put up a fight against the hosts during the entire tour that ended abruptly due to a terror attack in Christchurch.

Since then Bangladesh have improved tremendously and their efforts also helped them claim their maiden multi-nation trophy recently in Ireland. They even carried that confidence to their opening encounter of World Cup as they thumped South Africa at The Oval on Sunday.

According to Sarkar, they are ready to take on the Kane Williamson-led side sans the baggage of their earlier disappointment and they’ll look forward to reflect that in their performances on Wednesday.

“When we played them [last time] it was at their own back yard but it is different now. It is always difficult to play in other venues. At the end of the day we know them and they know us so whoever will play better is expected to win,” Sarkar told reporters ahead of their second game at the team hotel on Tuesday.

”There can be some similarity in the weather [for New Zealand] but no one can say that it is their home ground. At the end of the day it’s a big tournament and there is always pressure playing in such big tournaments,” Sarkar added. ”If anyone says that New Zealand is a big team, (it) only implies that the pressure will be bigger on them as the expectations will be bigger from them,” he said.

Sarkar also acknowledged the fact that New Zealand can be lethal with the new ball, hence they need to play out those initial overs carefully and be watchful against the likes of Matt Henry and Trent Boult in the opening overs of the innings.

New Zealand pacers reduced Bangladesh to 42 for 4 and 40 for 4 inside 10 overs in a couple of matches in their previous ODI series – exposing their weakness against pace and swing.

”No matter how many runs we score if we don’t lose any wicket in the first 10 overs it will be helpful for us. Their main strength is swing and pace and if we can manage to withstand that early storm than it will put us in a comfortable place,” said Sarkar.

The pitch for Wednesday’s game will be a different one as compared to their match against South Africa. Reflecting on it, Sarkar said: ”The wicket against New Zealand won’t be the same like the one where we played against Africa as that was a used wicket. It will be a different wicket and their bowlers have both pace and swing so we need to plan our innings accordingly.

“We have to learn how to adapt on fresh wickets and tackle bowlers who are capable of bowling fast as well as swing the ball too. If the wicket is good we will try to play according to the merit of the ball but if there is swing we need to take our time. Last time we scored quite a few runs in the power play but it might not be the case in the next game so we must be prepared for everything,” Sarkar admitted.

Sarkar, who scored 30, 22 and 0 on the tour of New Zealand, has been quite a revelation since then as he scored three half centuries in the Ireland tri-nation series. Against the Proteas too he got off to decent start and Bangladesh would want him to fire in the upcoming games if they want to make it to the knockout stage.

Talking about missing out on an opportunity to convert the start against South Africa, Sarkar said: ”I always try to play my natural game. No matter how many runs I score, whether it is 10, 20 or a hundred, it must come for the purpose of the team. I don’t play to put any opponent under pressure, I try to play my own game and if the ball is pitched on my zone I try to hit those deliveries that eventually help my team” Sarkar concluded.

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