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Bangladesh has injury worries before playing South Africa

LONDON (AP) — Tamim Iqbal is one of several Bangladesh players dealing with fitness issues before their team's opening match of the Cricket World Cup against South Africa on Sunday. Tamim, Bangladesh's most prolific batsman in recent years, received a blow on his left wrist in the nets on Friday. An X-ray showed no break but whether the left-hander is available to play at the Oval or not depends on the bruising and swelling. He will be given as late as possible to make the decision. In his only two appearances at the Oval, Tamim has scored 128 and 95.

There were also concerns about fast bowlers Mashrafe Mortaza (hamstring) and Mustafizur Rahman (calf), and allrounder Mahmudullah (shoulder). Also, bowling allrounder Mohammad Saifuddin is expected to play on painkillers for a back complaint.

The Bangladesh squad has come to the World Cup with the stated intention of reaching the semifinals for the second consecutive time. And the Bangladeshis have form on their side after beating the West Indies three times in the last month to win the tri-nations title in Ireland.

South Africa also holds no fear for them, after winning their home series four years ago, and their match at the 2007 World Cup. Those are Bangladesh's only three wins against South Africa in 20 ODIs.

South Africa is counting on its knowledge of playing the Oval in the tournament opener, even though it was outplayed by England and lost by 104 runs. With first-game nerves out of the way, South Africa needs an improved batting effort after the bowlers did well to contain England to 311.

The defeat exposed South Africa's reliance on a few batsmen, especially Quinton de Kock, who made 68, and captain Faf du Plessis. Hashim Amla, who retired hurt against England and returned to play after taking a ball to his helmet, is available.

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