Bangladesh unexpectedly qualified for the Champions Trophy semifinal as Australia lost their final Group A match against England on Saturday. However, they are not keeping up high hopes of clinching the title.
They qualified after England defeated their arch-rivals Australia by 40 runs.
As a unit, the Bangladesh side looks very confident ahead of their first ever semi-final match in ICC tournament. They displayed a remarkable performance while winning a crucial encounter against New Zealand on Friday.
“It’s a big thing for our cricket. It is an opportunity for us but I want to request everybody not to think we will go all the way to win the title,” Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza told reporters at the team hotel in Cardiff.
“It’s a tournament of the top eight teams and more challenging than the World Cup. So, to be in the semi-final is itself an achievement for us. It is also a reward for our continued effort towards improving our game,” he added.
“I think everyone has contributed to what we are today. The whole nation will be with us as they were in our desperate times and good times.”
Group B is still wide open with all four teams — India, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Pakistan — being in contention to make it to the last four but Bangladesh are out of preferences over which team to face in the semi-final on Thursday.
“It can be any team and we are not thinking about that. Our focus for the next few days will be to prepare ourselves for the next game,” Mortaza added.
For Bangladesh, two of their most experienced all-rounders, Mahmudullah and Shakib Al Hasan smashed a record 224-run partnership for the fifth wicket and made the impossible look easy. A lot will be expected from the duo ahead of the semi-final.
“We have given him (Mahmudullah) a role around six months ago, which is to bat at number six. He has responded well batting there,” batting coach Thilan Samaraweera said.
“He was actually batting further up when I took the job in 2015 but after that, the coaching staff thought about getting him ready for the 2019 World Cup with the role at six. He is doing well there, finishing the game for the team recently, in (the recent tri-series in) Ireland and against New Zealand on Friday,” he concluded.
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