Bangladesh v India, Champions Trophy 2017, 2nd semi-final, Edgbaston June 13, 2017

Reaching semi-final a big step forward for team - Hathurusingha


Chandika Hathurusingha has stressed that his message to Bangladesh is to treat the semi-final against India as a "big opportunity" © IDI/Getty Images

Victory over England in the World Cup was "a big turning point" for the Bangladesh team, according to their coach, Chandika Hathurusingha.

Bangladesh qualified for the 2015 World Cup quarter-final after a memorable 15-run victory over England in Adelaide. And such was the confidence the team took from beating a well-known team in foreign conditions, it propelled them to the most consistent run of results they have enjoyed in their international history.

That run, which has seen them defeat Pakistan, India and South Africa in ODI series at home, has culminated in qualifying for the semi-final of the Champions Trophy. While they go into the match against India - to be played at a sold-out Edgbaston on Thursday - as clear underdogs, Hathurusingha believes they have the skills and confidence to pull off a shock.

"The World Cup was a big turning point for us," Hathurusingha said. "We knew we had enough skill in the team. And we knew we had the right combination of youth and experience.

"But getting to the quarter-finals and beating England was big. Having that self-belief was the biggest challenge we had. Belief comes from playing against big teams. Belief is the biggest thing.

"The biggest hurdle for us was playing away from home. If you don't play away from home with big teams you don't know where you're at. If you look at our history, whenever we've played against any team a few times, we close the gap.

"After that World Cup we focused on our home series. We set a target that we wanted to do well at home. Then in the last year, we set our target to do well overseas - Test and ODIs - so this is a journey and coming to the semi-final is a big step forward for us."

Having seen South Africa apparently stumble due to nerves, Hathurusingha is keen to ease any pressure his side may be feeling. So instead of talking up the importance of the game, he is encouraging his team to enjoy the occasion and focus on the chance of showing the world the progress they have made.

"Our message is that it's not a very big game; it's a very big opportunity," he said. "If you think of it that way, any cricketer thrives on these opportunities. My message to the boys, is take this opportunity in both hands.

"We are not thinking of the opposition or occasion too much. All we are thinking is of the opportunity to show the world what we can do and how far we have come. We just want to do our best and enjoy the game. If we play to our potential, we can compete with any team.

"I don't think we're nervous. We relish the opportunity to be here in the semi-final. It's not like it is with other teams: for us it's the first time. So it's a great opportunity to express ourselves."

Hathurusingha accepts his side will need to cause quite an upset if they are to reach the final. Not only have they beaten India only five times in ODI cricket (though they have won two of the last three games between the sides), but they have won just the one game in this tournament, Indeed, had rain not intervened in the match against Australia, they would surely have been sentenced to not just defeat but an early exit.

"India were, for me, the tournament favourites," he said. "And for me they still are in this competition.

"But I'm sure not many people give us a chance to be here in the semi-final. India is a good team but if we can beat them it's a very good achievement for us."

While he accepts his side have something of a tail - "Tailenders are not batters, they are bowlers," he says. "We have seven batters. They have to do the job" - and are not always reliable in the field - "We have limitations," he admits, "It's an area we are working really hard" - he feels the Bangladesh bowling attack is "better than any other team."

"I always rate my bowlers better than any other team," he said. "I don't underestimate India. They have a very good bowling attack. We will have to play well in all departments to beat a big team like India.

"But I can tell you that we have variation. If you look at our fast bowlers, all give you different skill sets. That's our strength."

The match will be played on a fresh pitch in the centre of the Edgbaston square. It is expected to be another fine batting track.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cricfan2228500222 on June 14, 2017, 17:12 GMT

    After today's English loss, Bangladesh's confidence will be rock high. They are surely confident to cause another upset, that's been a cliche in this tournament so far. But they must be very cautious as if confidence turns into overconfidence things might get haywire for them, as India is a very level headed side that played consistently so far. There only loss so far was not due to their poor performance , but due to amazing chasing by Lankan batsmen. Hence, BL must put their best performance to beat India.

  • Vilander on June 14, 2017, 17:12 GMT

    So Coach says their team is better than India, but they do not underestimate India.

  • 1_4_4_celebrate_W_W_W on June 14, 2017, 16:28 GMT

    Mr.Hathurasingha, did you mean a big "lucky" step? BD made it to the semifinal with one win out of three matches. Sure, on their day they can beat anyone, but their days don't come around very often, especially away from Bangladesh.

  • cricfan5284992552 on June 14, 2017, 12:19 GMT

    @MASKING_TAPE: BD fan here, I'm pretty up to date with BD cricket news if I say so myself. That's exactly how Mash wants his team to play. He says BD has already done something extraordinary to make it to the semis, and he wants his team to play free from expectations and play good, proper cricket without any pressure. Usually when there's no pressure, BD does well.

  • cricfan59714904 on June 14, 2017, 12:01 GMT

    Nicely said Hathurusinga, bang would see this as an opportunity, a world cup win for such a nation always need luck. I can't stop comparing myself this team with the same stage pak was in 92

  • cricfan5529335908 on June 14, 2017, 11:54 GMT

    The image of celebrating a BD batter wicket by two Indian players doesn't match well with this article.

  • Sbl on June 14, 2017, 10:29 GMT

    Bangladesh is not only representing Bangladesh but also Srilanka and West Indies. Hope these two countries will be with us. We never lost in Semis so booking my time for Final. This India has not enough quality to beat us twice in neutral venue. They already filled their quota in practice match. I think Hatura is missing two players in the team- Nasir and Saifuddin.

  • Masking_Tape on June 14, 2017, 6:08 GMT

    We shouldn't make too much fuss about reaching this Semi-final. It's only the 4th game of the tournament for us. We lost one, won one, got lucky in another; not a whole lot of activity. Making a big deal about reaching our so-called "First Ever Semi" only puts pressure on us. Just think of it as the 4th game of the series, which it is. If we want to play the 5th game, just do well in the 4th. Simple. That's it.

  • Cool_Kat on June 14, 2017, 6:01 GMT

    'Bangladesh bowling attack is better than any other team' Are you kidding Mr. Hathurusingha ?

  • Udendra on June 14, 2017, 4:55 GMT

    Unarguably the best international coach at the moment. I won't be surprised if Bangladesh makes it to the finals.

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