In sport, the luck factor plays an important role and if Bangladesh make it to the semi-final of this edition of ICC Champions Trophy, this fact will be re-established once again.
On Monday, at the Oval, Australia were cruising towards the 183 target. An Aussie victory would have eliminated Bangladesh from the tournament. Even in Duckworth Lewis equations, Steven Smith’s team was way ahead.
However, it was not their day as the weather God came to the rescue of the Tigers, right at the final phase of the game.
Thanks to a steady drizzle, the match had to be stopped, just four overs before the 20-over mark, which is the minimum number of overs needed to be bowled in the second half of a One-Day International (ODI) to constitute a game.
No further play was possible due to the continuous rain and Bangladesh walked away with one crucial point, keeping their semi-final hopes alive.
The stars were certainly shining on them.
Now, with England registering a comfortable 87-run victory over New Zealand, the equation for the Tigers become pretty straight forward – beat the Kiwis in the next game and hope for an England victory over their arch-rival Australia on Saturday.
The Tigers know, they do not have the control on this entire equation, but they can certainly do their part by putting up a better show against Kane Williamson’s team on Friday at Cardiff.
“We are lucky, but this [Weather] is something that no one can control. We need luck going forward to the next game. We have a very good chance [to qualify for the semi-finals], but we need to win that game and need the other results going our way. The best thing we can do is go to Cardiff and win that game,” Shakib Al Hasan was saying in a media interaction, following Monday’s washout.
In the last world cup, under similar circumstances, Bangladesh came up with a brilliant show against England to enter the quarter-final for the first time.
History once again beckons the Asian side. This time the challenge is against the world cup runners-up New Zealand, a team they beat [a depleted side with most of the current players were busy with their IPL commitments] in the recently concluded tri-series in Ireland. However, Shakib believes, this New Zealand would be a much tougher side to beat.
“That [win] will on the back of our mind, but we know that they are a much stronger side now. They were missing a few important players. And this is an ICC tournament. They will try their best to win against us; they will play their best cricket.
“I’m hopeful they will be up for the challenge, but we have nothing to lose. This is the one game we can give our best shot,” the number one ranked all-rounder across formats in ICC rankings, added.
So far Bangladesh and New Zealand have taken on each other in 30 ODIs and the Blackcaps have won 21 of those. However, since 2008 these two teams have shared a competitive record with the Tigers winning nine out of the 19 fixtures. Meanwhile, for Bangladesh, most of these victories came in the slow-low sub-continental tracks. Thus, considering the seam-friendly conditions in Cardiff, this time the challenge will be tougher for MashrafeMortaza and co.
But at least there is a hope and the skipper aims to make use of this lucky break.
“I think even in 2015 World Cup, we got one point from Australia and went through, it really helped us. This time we have a chance. You never know. Straightaway, we have to beat New Zealand and obviously, we have to wait for a few results, as well. So our job is to play hard against New Zealand and if we can go through, then you never know,” Mortaza mentioned.
Bangladesh have made a drastic improvement in white-ball cricket in the last couple of years. But outside Asia, they have not been tested enough. Friday’s fixture will be a perfect platform for them to showcase the world, what this Bangladesh team is capable of.