Bangladesh may have crashed out of the Champions Trophy rather timidly with a nine-wicket loss to India, but they left an indelible imprint on the tournament by reaching their maiden semi-final of a major ICC event. According to Sri Lankan batting maestro Kumar Sangakkara, Bangladesh will return home full of confidence for their next series against Australia and with a bit of astute planning hope to be serious contenders at the 2019 World Cup.
“In this game, Bangladesh was ultimately outplayed in all departments, but it can return to Dhaka for the next series with Australia with its heads held high,” Sangakkara wrote in his column on the ICC website.
This was Bangladesh’s second appearance in the knockout stage of an ICC event, after famously pipping England for a quarter-final berth in the 2015 World Cup, where they were incidentally eliminated by India.
“In the last few years, aided by the shrewd coaching of Chandika Hathurasinghe, a supportive cricket board and a clutch of quality senior players led by Shakib Al Hasan, it has made huge progress. It has now reached the knockout stage in the last two major ICC events and can start planning for the ICC Cricket World Cup with real hope of being a contender,” said Sangakkara.
In a group where majority of the matches were marred by rain, Bangladesh rode their luck to sneak into the semi-final. They survived a rain-abandoned game against Australia that they were a whisker away from losing but bounced back to beat New Zealand in a tricky virtual quarter-final. Sangakkara said that their courageous approach against New Zealand reminded him of the 1996 World Champions Sri Lanka.
“Bangladesh has proven to be resilient and strong. Having survived against Australia because of rain, their courageous approach against New Zealand was reminiscent of the 1996 World Cup winning Sri Lanka team,” he said.
Despite a host of positives, Bangladesh looked unequipped to defend scores, as was underscored by their semi-final loss to India and an earlier loss to England where they posted a total in excess of 300 but were beaten comprehensively. According to Sangakkara, it boiled down to the lack of ‘variety and bite’ in their bowling attack.
“Bangladesh can be proud of its achievements, but it will have to find more variety in its bowling if it is to return to England in pursuit of a World Cup. It has a great core around which to build a team that can have sustained success, both home and abroad and there are exciting times ahead,” concluded Sangakkara.