LONDON: Mashrafe Mortaza hopes Bangladesh have earned respect with their impressive 21-run win over beleaguered South Africa in their World Cup opener on Sunday.

After reaching the World Cup quarter-finals in 2015, Bangladesh again look capable of shaking up cricket’s established order, to the delight of their army of vociferous supporters who packed The Oval.

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe believes the Tigers are still seen as minnows by most of the cricket world, but he claims they are now strong enough that wins over teams such as South Africa shouldn’t be seen as an upset anymore.

Asked if this was a sign of Bangladesh’s development, the skipper replied: “Do you think this was a surprise? If we can deliver our best we knew what we could do.

“I’m sure some people don’t think well of our cricket. We are concentrating on our game and let other people talk. We have played well in a few matches before at the World Cup. I don’t think this is our best result, but it’s one of the best. We played so well, especially in England where the conditions don’t favour us. I’m sure it won’t happen every day but I love to play this way.”

In contrast, South Africa are in turmoil after du Plessis’ decision to bowl first backfired despite two wickets from veteran spinner Imran Tahir in his 100th ODI appearance. South Africa, who have never won the World Cup, are left with little margin for error in the rest of the 10-team round-robin group stage.

Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2019