BIRMINGHAM: Bangladesh and New Zealand head into their final group match of this year’s Champions Trophy desperate for victory but knowing even a win in Cardiff on Friday may not take either of them into the semi-finals.
Both teams have a point apiece in the one-day international tournament after they were each well beaten by England, while their respective matches with Australia ended in rain-induced no results.
England are already into the last four and Australia will join them there if they defeat the tournament hosts in the final Group A fixture at Edgbaston on Sunday.
It all leaves Bangladesh and New Zealand needing to win in Wales and then hope England put one over their arch-rivals, assuming more bad weather does not disrupt those calculations.
New Zealand should have the edge over Bangladesh when it comes to local knowledge given their 87-run defeat by England in Cardiff on Tuesday.
“England bowled very, very well,” said New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, “the way they extracted (some bounce) by cross seamers hitting the wicket hard.”
Williamson made a brilliant hundred against Australia before following up with 97 against England — a match where he was fined but not banned for a dreadfully slow over-rate.
Bangladesh’s Tamim Iqbal also started the tournament with a century, against England, before making 95 against Australia.
For both sides the innings has tended to fall away following the exit of their star batsman, with New Zealand losing their last eight wickets for 65 against England following Williamson’s dismissal.
Bangladesh were just four overs away from all but certain defeat and tournament elimination when rain came to their rescue against Australia.
Their most recent meeting with the Blackcaps saw Bangladesh beat New Zealand by five wickets in a warm-up match in Dublin.
New Zealand, however, were without several key players in Martin Guptill, Williamson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Adam Milne.
“We have beaten their strongest team at home (in Bangladesh) but maybe not so strong in Ireland,” Tamim told reporters in Cardiff on Wednesday.
“They have serious quality players. If we want to repeat the result again, we have to execute well,” he added.
It was at Cardiff, now a much-changed ground, where Bangladesh caused arguably the biggest of all ODI upsets by beating a powerful Australia side back in 2005.
Defeating New Zealand would not be such a shock, but it would be a huge boost to the current Bangladesh’s side standing in world cricket.