Cricket World Cup 2011

History with Eng in Chittagong

2011-03-08 10:03
Riding high - England. (AFP)

Chittagong - England will not expect to encounter cricket's equivalent of the historic Chittagong Uprising when they clash with Bangladesh in the World Cup on Friday.

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It was in this port city in 1930 that the Indian war of independence gained momentum, when a group of revolutionaries launched armed attacks on British facilities in what came to be known as the Chittagong Uprising.

The only backlash England will encounter is from rattled opponents who need to win the crucial group B match to stay in contention for a place in the quarter-finals.

Andrew Strauss's men, who arrived in town on Monday escorted by armed guards, will relish their return to the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium on the outskirts of Chittagong.

England won both the solitary Test match and one-day international they have played in the stadium, which took over from the MA Aziz ground as Chittagong's international venue in 2006.

On the tour of Bangladesh last March, England cruised to a 45-run victory in the one-day international, with Craig Kieswetter smashing a century and seamer Tim Bresnan finishing with 4-28.

In the subsequent Test match, England romped home by a massive 181 runs, with off-spinner Graeme Swann claiming five wickets in each innings.

Chittagong, a bustling city with a population of around three million, is decked out to honour World Cup teams from England and the Netherlands, who play the hosts on March 14.

Walls and road markers have been freshly painted, billboards have sprung up to welcome the cricketers, and streets are lined with light decorations.

Even taxis and buses have been painted with slogans exhorting Bangladesh cricketers to defeat their opponents.

Cricket fever has gripped Chittagong despite the national team's lacklustre display so far, and sell-out crowds are expected to watch the two matches at the refurbished 18,000-capacity stadium.

Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal, who hails from Chittagong, said he looked forward to playing in his home town.

"I love playing here, playing in front of friends and family," the swashbuckling batsman said. "There is no extra pressure, I just want to do well in a World Cup match in my own city.

"The tournament being played here is a very big deal for me and everyone who lives here. The World Cup will take Chittagong to the next level. I am very happy for the city."

Tamim hoped there would be no repeat of the unsavoury incidents in Dhaka, after Bangladesh crashed to their lowest one-day total of 58 against the West Indies last Friday.

The West Indies and Bangladesh team buses were stoned by angry fans, and skipper Shakib Al Hasan's home in Magura town was also attacked.

"My request to the public is that they should not do such silly things," said Tamim. "We win one day, we lose one day, these things happen in cricket.

"Fans need to support us in good and bad times."


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