Bangladesh hoping to close in on 2017 Champions Trophy berth
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — A Champions Trophy berth in 2017 beckons Bangladesh as it faces India in the first of three one-day internationals on Thursday at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.
One rare victory against India would be enough to lift Bangladesh from eighth in the world rankings to seventh, over the West Indies. England, as the 2017 host, and the next seven highest-ranked teams on Sept. 30 will qualify for the tournament.
Bangladesh has finished second-to-last in all four of its Trophy appearances, and missed the last editions in 2009 and 2013. Still, captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza believed qualifying for the 2017 Trophy would be a “lifetime achievement.”
Mashrafe said qualifying was on the players’ minds.
“It’s pressure when you’re thinking about it more,” he said. “So, the big issue is to learn to how we can handle the pressure.”
If Bangladesh is swept in the series, it will drop to ninth, so it needs to beat India, which has won 25 of their previous 29 ODI meetings.
According to itineraries, West Indies has no more ODIs before September, while Pakistan will tour Sri Lanka to play five ODIs, and Bangladesh will host South Africa for three.
“We’ve six matches at hand,” Mashrafe said. “It’s our chance to take our cricket to the next level, and the players are ready to take the challenge.
“Playing against India is always challenging, but our players remain motivated when they take them on.”
The rainy season that made the one-off test a damp draw could also hinder Bangladesh’s ODI hopes, even with reserve days set aside for each match.
India, ranked second in ODIs, was keen to take something home from the tour, and not underestimating Bangladesh.
“I’ve always felt they are a very good ODI side,” captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said.