ICC Champions Trophy 2017: India under more pressure than Bangladesh, says Mashrafe Mortaza ahead of semi-final

PTI, Jun, 14 2017

Birmingham: Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza admitted that there will be pressure on his side ahead of their maiden semi-final appearance in a global event but quantum of expectation is manifold from India, which has a huge cricket following.

"Yes, we are playing in the semi-final and it is a pressure game. But if we are under pressure then I think India are under more pressure compared to us because of their huge population and the love for the game among common public," Mortaza said at the pre-match press conference.

"Both teams face pressure of expectations. But at the end of the day, it's a game of cricket, so whoever plays well, they will win. I just told the players if you take it as 'the semi-final', the pressure will be going very hard, but if you think it's just another match the pressure will ease off," he added.

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza addresses the press ahead of the semi-final clash against India. AP

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza addresses the press ahead of the semi-final clash against India. AP

The skipper agreed that there is hype around the match but didn't want to classify it as the biggest match in Bangladesh's cricket history.

"I have been answering that question since 2015 World Cup. Obviously, there is a big hype. Being among top-eight and in the semi-final is big thing. But I am not sure if this is the biggest match or not."

Asked what has been the catalyst in Bangladesh's transformation as a potent ODI side, Mortaza said: "Beating England in 2015 World Cup and then giving New Zealand a tough fight were the high points.

"Then we beat Pakistan, India and South Africa at home. In last two years, we have managed to play with some sort of freedom. That is as much as you can do in the middle. Players feeling more secured about their places in the side. These things do help."

Bangladeshi media's favourite topic has been all about the encounter being a "grudge match" and how their beloved "Tigers" will be exacting revenge.

Mashrafe, however, played it down.

"Not necessarily (that it has to be a grudge match). I know it could have been any opposition. So I don't have to think that since it's India, it's a grudge match. We will play just another match. Hopefully if we can soak in the pressure and play good cricket," he said.

"After World Cup 2015, we have played, I think -- two T20s and three ODIs. We have obviously forgotten it. It has been 24 months and exactly like what Virat had said, tomorrow is going to be a new match."

More than 2015 World Cup, Mortaza made it clear that one-run defeat in the World T20 game against India in Bangalore hurt them more. But now they have moved on.

"Obviously, we have been disappointed, especially in World T20. We couldn't get 2 runs from 3 balls when two of our best batsmen (Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim) were at the crease," he said.

"It happens sometimes in cricket, but we need to forget it and move on. We can't invite extra pressure on ourselves thinking about what happened during the last two matches in ICC tournaments," he concluded.

Published Date: Jun 14, 2017 | Updated Date: Jun 14, 2017



Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4493 125
2 South Africa 3395 110
3 England 4097 105
4 Australia 3087 100
5 New Zealand 3114 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 South Africa 5957 119
2 Australia 5505 117
3 India 4579 114
4 England 5645 113
5 New Zealand 5123 111
Rank Team Points Rating
1 New Zealand 1625 125
2 England 1962 123
3 Pakistan 2417 121
4 West Indies 2222 117
5 India 2183 115