Bangladesh can repeat 2015 World Cup heroics in ICC Champions Trophy vs England | icc-champions-trophy-2017 | Hindustan Times
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Bangladesh can repeat 2015 World Cup heroics in ICC Champions Trophy vs England

If Bangladesh can play their best cricket in ICC Champions Trophy 2017, it will not just help it in its quest for a knockout berth, it will also do wonders for its confidence and morale.

icc champions trophy 2017 Updated: May 31, 2017 18:52 IST
Habibul Bashar
Bangladesh have beaten England in their last two ICC matches and will be aiming for a great start in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy.
Bangladesh have beaten England in their last two ICC matches and will be aiming for a great start in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy. (Getty Images)

The ICC Champions Trophy is almost upon us, and as a Bangladeshi, I am proud that our team will be playing the inaugural match of the tournament, against host nation England. It will be a fantastic occasion, though there will also be a sobering moment when the victims of the Manchester bombing will be remembered.

It has been a hectic last couple of weeks for both teams. Bangladesh is coming off a tri-series tournament in Ireland, while England has rounded off its preparations with a 2-1 series win against South Africa.

Being the first game, it is obviously a huge match, and more so for Bangladesh. Given that Australia and New Zealand are the other two opponents in the group, Bangladesh has no option but to start well. If it does not start well, then it will be extremely difficult for it to qualify for the semifinals.

If Bangladesh can play its best cricket and get the better of England, it will not just help it in its quest for a knockout berth, it will also do wonders for its confidence and morale.

Already, tickets for the opening game have been long sold out, and there will be plenty of support for both teams. It is a home game for England, but there will be a lot of Bangladeshi fans who will turn out at The Oval to cheer for their team. I don’t think Bangladesh players will feel that they are playing away from home.

Bangladesh’s most famous global win has to be against England at the Adelaide Oval in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. Can it beat England again? Bangladesh’s most famous global win has to be against England at the Adelaide Oval in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. Can it beat England again?

Having said that, it won’t be easy because England is playing great cricket. England has a different team from the one at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, and is playing an entertaining and intrepid brand of cricket. England in England has always been difficult to beat. But if you want to be the champion, you must beat the best, and I am sure Bangladesh is aware that it must be at its best at all times.

Bangladesh is the only team from the sub-continent in this group, but in the past, India and Pakistan have shown that Asian teams can court success in English conditions in 50-over cricket. Bangladesh can take heart from that, as well as from its victory over New Zealand in the last game of the Ireland tri-series, which gave it a ranking boost.

Bangladesh started slowly but gradually got its acts together, and must now be fully acclimatised with the conditions. Admittedly, the New Zealand side it beat didn’t have many players who will be playing in the ICC Champions Trophy, but there is nothing like a good win to bolster confidence.

I just hope we have a sunny day in London. The pitch will be good for cricket, but if it is overcast, then batting in England is always tough for teams from the sub-continent who find swing a tricky prospect. There is no greater comfort than the sun beating down on your backs, so Bangladesh will hope to hit it lucky with the weather.

Bangladesh’s most famous global win has to be against England at the Adelaide Oval in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. Can it beat England again? I think it can. England is a much better and different team now, but I sincerely believe history can be repeated.

Bangladesh has reached a stage where it has nothing to prove, it has shown over the last two years that it is good enough to beat any side. I would say that if it doesn’t win, it will be a kind of failure for them, which is good because it has raised expectations with its quality and consistency.

Ben Stokes will hold the key for England in their opening clash against Bangladesh in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. (Corbis via Getty Images)

A genuine all-rounder, Stokes can win matches on his own either with the bat alone or the ball alone A genuine all-rounder, Stokes can win matches on his own either with the bat alone or the ball alone.

The teams appear reasonably matched. Openers Jason Roy and Alex Hales are experienced and playing good cricket, but the Bangladeshi pair of Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar aren’t too far behind. Tamim has matured immensely, while Soumya plays the same role as Roy, and he if gets going, will be brilliant for Bangladesh because he always scores quickly.

England has a solid middle-order core comprising Joe Root, Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler, but Bangladesh can reply in kind through Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah and Shakib Al Hasan, whose presence means Bangladesh has the edge in the spin department.

England clearly has the better pace bowlers, some who are quick and some others who can swing the ball, but what gives them the big edge is the presence of Ben Stokes.

A genuine all-rounder, Stokes can win matches on his own either with the bat alone or the ball alone. He is explosive and exciting, and can take the game away in the blink of an eyelid.

England will begin the favourite, but cricket has always had a way of proving statistics and the experts wrong. I am sure we will see a wonderful game, and I am hoping it is Bangladesh which comes out smiling at the end.

- Habibul Bashar is a former Bangladesh skipper