Hamilton, New Zealand: The bounce in the step of the Bangladesh players was clearly visible Wednesday as they trained at Seddon Park in preparation for Friday's Cricket World Cup Pool A match against unbeaten New Zealand.
Smiles that have been fixed on faces since Monday when Bangladesh beat England by 15 runs to qualify for the tournament quarterfinals for the first time — and eliminate the English — were still there and the afterglow of victory had barely dimmed.
Bangladesh's win over England set in motion joyous celebrations in its homeland, but the players themselves were forced to cut festivities short as they relocated from Australia to New Zealand to re-focus on the match against New Zealand.
Cheerful assistant coach Ruwan Kalapge, whose is principally in charge of the Bangladesh spin bowlers, said his team firmly believed they could beat New Zealand to carry the momentum achieved in the England match into the quarterfinals.
"When we arrived here as a Bangladesh team (the next game) became the most important for us and we are pleased to see we are already in the quarterfinals," Kalpage said. "Yes, the Black Caps at the moment are unbeaten, but we are looking forward to the game and the boys are very confident.
Bangladesh appears on course for a meeting with India in the quarterfinals, but Kalpage wasn't prepared on Wednesday to indulge in that speculation.
"At the moment we are not thinking of the quarterfinals, since we are going to play New Zealand and Sri Lanka has to finish playing Scotland today," he said. "Thereafter only are we thinking of playing the quarterfinals."
Kalpage expects to be able to draw on a significant personal experience to provide insight to the Bangladesh spinners, who may play a vital role in Friday's match against New Zealand. India used its spinners extremely effectively to beat Ireland by eight wickets in the most-recent match on Seddon Park, where the pitch was a little slow and provided little assistance to seam bowlers.
"I played my second ODI here in Hamilton," Kalpage said. "I got my first wicket here so I'm pretty much sure it's going to help our spinners. I think our boys so far have done well and the spinners can do well here also."