Even before the power plays on the field, word play had begun between the camps of India and Bangladesh ahead of their semi final clash in the ICC Champions Trophy on Wednesday. The winner of the tie in Birmingham will play Pakistan in the finals on Sunday.
While Indian skipper Virat Kohli dismissed that he is bothered about his middle-order, his opposite number Mashrafe Mortaza said India may feel the pressure as they are expected to win the match.
“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… 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.
Meanwhile, Virat Kohli rejected if there was any pressure, especially due to the lack of batting time for middle and lower order.
“No, that’s not a concern…,” he replied when asked if it could pose problems.
“… given an opportunity, everyone would like to finish games convincingly and, as I said everyone is batting well,” he said on the eve of the match at Birmingham.
The Indian skipper was particularly confident about the late order hitters Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya and also his slow bowling due Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
“I am sure those two guys are going to step up and take the team through along with Ash (Ravichandran Ashwin) and Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja) as well. Those guys are actually waiting for opportunities, and that’s a great mindset to have,” Kohli said.
“They are not sitting comfortably thinking ‘oh these guys are going to do the job’. They are actually prepared if a crisis situation comes in… ‘we want to be the match winners’ (that) is the energy they are creating,” Kohli sounded confident.
Ahead of the start, the Bangladesh 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.”
(With inputs from the PTI)