ACT News

Cricket fans converge on Canberra for Afghanistan and Bangladesh World Cup showdown

Thousands of Afghani and Bangladeshi cricket fans from across the country will converge on Canberra on Wednesday to show their support as the two teams face off in their World Cup debut at Manuka Oval.

Members of Canberra's Bangladeshi community gear up for the World Cup match at Manuka Oval. From left, Fabia Afnan, ...
Members of Canberra's Bangladeshi community gear up for the World Cup match at Manuka Oval. From left, Fabia Afnan, Murshida Zaman, Asma Dewan, Nazrul Islam, Mufrad Zaman, Tarik Zaman, Arthee Nazrul and Mansib Zaman. Photo: Graham Tidy

For Afghanistan, it will be the country's first time competing in a World Cup, having only risen to the world stage in the past few years.

"Afghanistan is most of the time in the international media for the wrong reasons," Afghan ambassador Nasir Ahmad Andisha said.

"This is one of those rare occasions of pleasure for Afghans to sit in front of their TV sets and watch their team which has made its way to the most prestigious venue for international cricket."

Bangladesh Australia Association president Shafiq Ahmed Rana was expecting a big turnout of Bangladeshi supporters.

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"Altogether 7000 or 8000 people we are expecting from Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra," he said.

Bangladesh High Commissioner Kazi Imtiaz HossainĀ said many people who couldn't make the pilgrimage to Manuka Oval would tune in to the match on television.

"The game of cricket is the most popular game back home," he said.

"At least 60 to 70 per cent of the population will be glued to the TV, and I'm not exaggerating. Not only at home, but even on the streets and stalls."

For supporters of both sides, seeing their teams competing at the World Cup is a source of pride.

As for diplomacy between the two nations, both Mr Hossain and Mr Andisha agree whatever the result, the two nations would bond over their love of the game.

"It's a bit of fun between me and the the Bangladeshi high commissioner. We will both be there," Mr Andisha said.

Bangladesh team manager Khaled Mahmud said he would hardly describe the two teams' relationship as a "rivalry" despite their last meeting ending in his side's defeat at the Asia Cup last year.

"The community in Canberra is waiting for us. There's a little bit of pressure for the boys but I think we can win the match," he said.

For those who missed out on initial ticket sales, 500 extra tickets were released late on Tuesday afternoon. Tickets were made available at the gates and on the ICC's website.

Temperatures are forecast to reach 29 degrees on Wednesday but cricket fans attending Wednesday's match are advised to pack a poncho, with the weather bureau forecasting a chance of a thunderstorm in the afternoon and early evening.

There will be free ACTION buses between noon and 2.15pm to and from Manuka Oval from Woden and City bus stations.