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Suresh Raina says settled India ready to ‘express themselves’

India are settled, in winning form and are well accustomed to Australian playing conditions for their pressure World Cup quarter-final with Bangladesh at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, batsman Suresh Raina said on Wednesday.

The defending champions have won all their six group matches, bowled out their opposition in the process taking 60 wickets, and are ready for the knockout rounds, starting with Thursday’s quarter-final.

Raina, whose unbeaten 110 helped India chase down Zimbabwe’s 288-run target for a hard-fought six-wicket win in their concluding pool game in Auckland last weekend, says the Indians are ready to “express themselves.”

It’s been a marathon buildup for India in defence of their World Cup crown, starting last November for their win-less Test and one-day matches in Australia.

But the rewards appear to be coming for Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team, brushing aside allcomers in Pool B and now with modest-performing neighbouring Bangladesh blocking their way to a likely semi-final with co-hosts Australia or Pakistan next week.

“We’ve spent a lot of time in Australia for the last four and a half months now so it’s like we’re used to the conditions more than other teams,” said Raina.

“People are really pumped up for the quarter-finals. We have done really well in the last six games. It’s the quarter-final stage now, you don’t have much room for error. You just need to do everything right, whether you’re bowling, batting or fielding. The main World Cup is going to start on Thursday.”

Ninth-ranked Bangladesh have made the quarter-finals for the first time after beating England, Scotland and Afghanistan along with a rained-out point with Australia.

“You can’t take Bangladesh lightly, they have done well against India, especially in the Champions Trophy and we lost against them in the 2007 World Cup and we lost against them in the Asia Cup,” Raina said.

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