What’s the story?
Team India skipper Virat Kohli has said that India are not taking Bangladesh lightly and will put up the best performance they can when they take on their neighbours in the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy. After beating South Africa convincingly to reach the semi-finals, India will now take on Bangladesh at Edgbaston on Friday for a spot in the final at The Oval on Sunday.
Edgbaston is the same ground where India defeated Pakistan in their tournament opener and Kohli was confident that his team would perform well on that pitch, stating, "We played in Birmingham before. We like that pitch. It suits our game.
"There's no looking back. There's always room for improvement. We can't rest on your laurels,” said the skipper following India’s win over South Africa.
The Indian skipper was of the opinion that the amount of ODI cricket played in England was a factor in India’s performance in the tournament so far, stating, “Maybe because of how much limited-overs cricket we play, I think the players are getting more experienced in difficult situations.”
Kohli was also impressed as to how other Asian nations have adapted to England conditions, saying, "Maybe some of the teams have really surprised the opposition with the way they have batted and bowled in certain situations."
In case you did not know...
India had previously faced Bangladesh in the warm-up matches leading up to the tournament where the Men in Blue trounced the Tigers by 240 runs. Bangladesh’s surprise win over New Zealand followed by England’s win over Australia meant Bangladesh made it to the semi-finals of an ICC tournament for the very first time.
India’s semi-final opponents will be a team they defeated during the warm-up matches just like 2013, when they faced Sri Lanka in the warm-up matches before locking horns in the penultimate stage of the tournament.
The heart of the matter
After a comprehensive win over Pakistan in their tournament opener, India faced a shock defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka in their second match despite putting up a total of 321. However, they defeated South Africa convincingly to win their group and qualify for the semi-finals where they will be up against Bangladesh.
India did thrash Bangladesh when the two had locked horns during the warm-up games but this time, Kohli’s side may not have an easy task to accomplish as Bangladesh look solid after their win over New Zealand where they recovered after being reduced to 33/4.
With their win over South Africa behind them now, India will now look forward to facing Bangladesh on Thursday to go one step closer to retaining their title.
It looks like the defeat to Sri Lanka was quite the blessing in disguise for India as they look more determined and more importantly, more grounded especially after hearing Kohli’s comments. And Bangladesh sure won’t be an easy team to take on now as their morale has been boosted a lot following their inspiring win over New Zealand.