The stage is all set for India-Pakistan ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final, one of the most heated rivalries in the cricket world. The former Bangladesh skipper Habibul Bashar believes India is far ahead of Pakistan and stand a 70-30 chance to win the final. Both the teams come in with impressive victories over Bangladesh and England respectively.
“I firmly believe India is far ahead of Pakistan. Up to some ten years back, the two teams were fairly evenly matched but India has marched ahead since while Pakistan is not the same team as it was earlier. India has experienced batsmen, proven match-winners and good bowlers. I would give India a 70-30 chance to win the final, but no team uses its 30 percent winning chance better than Pakistan so I would not like to hazard a guess about the outcome,” Bashar wrote in his column for ICC.
Sharing his childhood experience, Bashar said “When we were young lads growing up, we heard a lot of stories about India-Pakistan matches, there was so much romanticism attached to it. In my view, an India-Pakistan final in a big tournament is like Brazil and Argentina battling it out in football’s World Cup final.”
Making into the semi-final of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, it showcased the rise of Bangladesh Cricket in last two years. However, their chances of defeating India were very sleek. Bashar felt the Mashrafe Mortaza-led side had to do something special against their neighbours to make it to the final.
“It was always obvious that for Bangladesh to make it to the final, it had to do something stunning, something special against India. It had the opportunity to do so, but it didn’t grab that opportunity, and in a match like the semi-final of an ICC event, that can be decisive,” he added.
Despite a solid platform set by opener Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim, Bangladesh batting line-up plunged against India’s bowling attack. The former Bangladesh captain believes if they had posted a 300-plus total, they had a chance of pulling off a victory against title contenders in the semi-final match which will hurt them now.
“That’s why the missed opportunity will hurt Bangladesh. In a game such as a semi-final, these mistakes are very difficult to rectify and clearly, 265 was not a big enough target on a flat pitch where there was no joy for the bowlers. You simply can’t expect to win a semi-final on a good batting surface with just 264 on the board,” he added.
With just 264 on board, Bangladesh bowlers lacked intact and could only manage the wicket of Shikhar Dhawan. Bashar feels Bangladeshi bowlers didn’t bowl well and had a chance to push India on backfoot when Indian skipper Virat Kohli came into bat post-Dhawan’s dismissal.
“I thought the bowling too was pretty average. Bangladesh didn’t bowl well at all, we did not bowl enough wicket-taking balls. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma batted superbly during their opening partnership, the openers just took the game away from us and I suspect we just gave it up after that first salvo.”