India fans want Bangladesh to enter semi-finals

NEW DELHI, April 9, 2007 (AFP) – Bangladesh’s stunning progress in the World Cup has given cricket lovers in India reason to cheer again after their own team was knocked out in the first round. The giant-killing feats of Habibur Bashar’s men have revived interest in the tournament for millions of Indians, who now want both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to advance to the semi-finals.

That Bangladesh caused India’s World Cup exit with a shock five-wicket win in the preliminary round mattered little as fans shared the joy of their unheralded neighbours.

“They deserve their success,” said Delhi student Shoumik Bose. “I had stopped watching the World Cup after India were defeated, but Bangladesh has forced me to switch on my TV again.”

Another fan, Venayak Gupta, added: “With India and Pakistan both gone, my interest is only in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. It will be great if an Asian country wins the World Cup.”

While Sri Lanka are well-placed to make the semi-finals with six points after three games, Bangladesh must defeat England, Ireland and the West Indies in their remaining matches to advance.

Few would have given ninth-ranked Bangladesh a chance before the World Cup bega