Shakib Al Hasan has set his sights on inspiring Bangladesh to a famous World Cup upset of India after his superb display kept his team in the hunt for a semi-final place.
Bangladesh beat Afghanistan by 62 runs in Southampton on Monday to move into fifth place in the 10-team group stage.
They sit one point behind fourth-placed England, who face Australia on Tuesday, in the race to seal a semi-final berth via a top-four finish.
Mashrafe Mortaza’s side play India and Pakistan in their final two group matches.
Bangladesh famously beat India in the 2007 World Cup and Shakib is confident his team can trouble Virat Kohli’s title contenders again on July 2.
“They are the top side. They are someone who is looking at the title. So it’s not going to be easy, but having said that, we’ll give our best shot,” he told reporters.
“Experience will help, but experience is not the end of the world. We have to play our best cricket in order to be able to beat India.
“They got world-class players who can take the matters on their own hand. As I said, we have to be at our best, and I believe that we are a capable enough team.”
Shakib’s 51 laid the foundations for Bangladesh to score 262-7 and made him the leading scorer in this year’s World Cup on 476 runs.
The 32-year-old then ripped through the Afghan batting line-up with his career-best ODI figures of 5-29 from 10 overs — the best spell in this World Cup.
Shakib is only the second player in World Cup history to take five wickets and hit a 50 in the same match after India’s Yuvraj Singh against Ireland in 2011.
It was another demonstration of the qualities that make him one of the world’s best all-rounders.
– ‘Very satisfying’ –
Shakib, Bangladesh’s Test and T20 captain, said his success on the global stage was gratifying, but he doesn’t plan to rest on his laurels.
“Very satisfying. It was needed. It was important from my perspective and from (the) team,” he said.
“Luckily, I’ve been doing this, and very happy the way this tournament is going so far.
“Still two more important matches left, and hopefully more after that. First things first, we have a very important game coming up against India.”
Shakib benefited from coming into the World Cup fresh after his Indian Premier League side Sunrisers Hyderabad hardly used him in this year’s competition.
Shakib used the freetime to see in his childhood mentor, Mohammad Salahuddin, for extra batting sessions in Mumbai.
“I did prepare well, but I never felt that I had a point to prove,” he said.
“I did everything I could do before the World Cup started for my preparation, and luckily it’s been helping me a lot.”
Shakib is the fastest to player to reach 6,000 runs and 200 wickets in ODIs, but helping Bangladesh into the semi-finals against the odds would eclipse even those impressive landmarks.
“England have got three more matches, and we have two more and we have to win two,” he said.
“So it’s difficult mathematically, but having said that, in cricket anything can happen.
“We have the belief that we can play well in next two matches and get the result.
“That’s all we can do at this moment.”