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DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan fears that the pressure of co-hosting the World Cup could have contributed to their exit before next week's quarter-finals.
A 206-run defeat by South Africa in Dhaka on Saturday ruined the dreams of Bangladesh's cricket-crazy 160-million population who had been hoping for a win to send them into the last eight.
"I don't think we could play our best cricket in this World Cup," captain Shakib said after the loss.
"In some matches we bowled well but in most cases we batted badly. Maybe the pressure got to everyone. The expectation was high and we couldn't handle those pressures. That was the problem."
Shakib did not have a clue what went wrong with their batting. They slumped to an all-time team low of 58 in their nine-wicket thrashing by West Indies earlier in the campaign.
"When you score 180 or 200 you can sort those mistakes but when you are bowled out for 78 I don't know how you can do this."
Bangladesh will have very little time to regroup with current world champions Australia arriving in the capital on April 4, two days after the final, to play three one-day internationals.
The games will bring to an end a season which had once looked so promising with a 4-0 ODI series sweep against New Zealand, who have made the quarter-finals here, in October.
Shakib's men defeated Ireland, England and Netherlands but fell agonisingly short of their target after losing badly to India, West Indies and South Africa.
"Before the tournament everyone expected us to win three games which we did and it's the positive I think we can take," he said.
"We needed some luck from other teams so that we could have gone to the quarter-finals but that didn't happen."