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Saturday, Aug 17, 2019

ICC Champions Trophy: Mashrafe Mortaza not sure if India vs Bangladesh is ‘the greatest’

India and Bangladesh contest for the first time in the ICC Champions Trophy and the recent record between the sub-continental neighbours has been even

icc-champions-trophy-2017 Updated: Jun 14, 2017 22:34 IST
Soumitra Bose
Soumitra Bose
Hindustan Times, Birmingham
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza attends a training session at Edgbaston in Birmingham on Wednesday, ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy semi-final against India.
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza attends a training session at Edgbaston in Birmingham on Wednesday, ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy semi-final against India.(AFP)

What does Bangladesh do when they play their first major international at the semifinal stage of a world cricket tournament? “Hope for the best, of course”, said skipper Mashrafe Mortaza in his pre-match chat with reporters on Wednesday.

Mortaza, the veteran speedster, said Bangladesh’s biggest challenge at Edgbaston on Thursday will be to keep “excitement under check” and play India as if it were a “bilateral game” and not a knockout game of the ICC Champions Trophy.

Deflecting pressure

Saying there was great hype around the India vs Bangladesh clash, Mortaza said “not Bangladesh, India are the team under pressure.”

“Of course there is expectation in Bangladesh, but India will be under more pressure because of their huge population,” said Mortaza.

Bangladesh have a unique style of doing their media conferences. The first set of questions HAVE to be asked in Bengali, Bangladesh’s national language. Mortaza is naturally more expressive here.

Mortaza was not sure if the match against India at Edgbaston on Thursday was the “biggest”.

With a hint of disdain, Mortaza said: “I’ve been answering that question since World Cup 2015. But playing in the best eight and in the semifinal, obviously there is a big hype. You can say, but I’m not sure...”

Bangladesh are naturally emboldened by the fact that they have run India close in recent times. But their lack of experience in winning pressure games has come to hurt them. The one-run World T20 loss at Bangalore in March 2016 was a classic case in point.

Throwing it away

With Bangladesh needing 10 runs off five balls in a gripping final over sent down by Hardik Pandya, Mushfiqur Rahim (11) smashed two consecutive fours before holing out to Shikhar Dhawan. With two runs needed from as many balls, Mahmudullah was also caught in the deep for 18.

Incoming batsman Mustafizur Rahman had no choice but to race down the wicket, after Shuvagata Hom stabbed and missed the final ball, and was run out by MS Dhoni.

But Bangladesh have come a long way from committing those foolish errors and in this Champions Trophy have found their mojo against the fancied teams like New Zealand.

“We have tried to play at our best in every match. We don’t know what is going to be the result, but once we play at our best, things can change. We can do anything on our day,” said Mortaza.

The desire to defeat India cannot be denied in the Bangladesh camp but Mortaza quite cleverly doesn’t want to put the cart before the horse.

He is actually looking at the future and wants Bangladesh to win more matches overseas. If Bangladesh can upset India at Edgbaston, it surely will be their greatest game-changer ever.

First Published: Jun 14, 2017 22:32 IST

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