What’s the story?
Having recovered quickly from their surprise setback against Sri Lanka, the Indian Team brushed South Africa aside to reach the semi-finals for the second time in two editions.
Captain Virat Kohli, who has led the side from the front, said that the opponents don’t matter to the Indian team, although everyone seems to want an India-England final.
"It would not have mattered who we were playing in the semis. The league phase is the toughest. We have an opportunity to win one game and enter the finals. Everyone wants to see an India-England final. If both teams play well, people might get what they want to see”.Also read: ICC Champions Trophy 2017: Virat Kohli's honest criticism spurred India to defeat South Africa
In case you didn’t know…
India started off their Champions Trophy defence with a comprehensive win over Pakistan, before an insipid bowling performance saw them lose to Sri Lanka.
It didn’t take Kohli & Co. long to bounce back and trump South Africa in their do-or-die encounter, opening the gates for a semi-final berth, to be played against Bangladesh on June 15.
The heart of the matter
Speaking at the launch of an exhibition called ‘Cricket Connects’, currently touring London en route Edinburgh and Birmingham, Kohli said that if the clouds are clear in England, there is no better place to play the game. When asked about the team he would prefer to play against in the finals, Kohli said that the opponents don’t matter to his side, but added that fans are looking forward to an India-England encounter.The 28-year old added that the white ball doesn’t generally swing prodigiously in English conditions, and the situation complicates when the clouds come in. He said that all these make for an interesting battle, with the conditions challenging the batsman extensively.
While India face off Bangladesh in the semi-final clash on June 15, England will play Pakistan the day before, looking to win their first major 50-over ICC title.
While Kohli has gone with the popular opinion about the predicted finalists of the tournament, he and his team will have guard any sort of complacency as they face Bangladesh. Given the way the two teams have been performing, a tight match is expected.
Being the hosts, England do stand a good chance of reaching the finals, with the current side being a strong white-ball outfit that can challenge the best in the world. While it is difficult to predict the finalists in competitions such as these, India and England do stand out as the more likely finalists for the June 18 clash.