ICC Champions Trophy 2017 match preview - Group A: Australia vs Bangladesh

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Which team will come out on top? [Getty Images]

AUSTRALIA FOCUS

Australia would have been disappointed with their performance against New Zealand in their opening match at the ICC Champions Trophy as both their bowling and batting didn’t seem to be at their best.

The match was eventually abandoned due to rain and the Aussies will consider themselves a little fortunate to have come out from the game with one point.

Josh Hazlewood’s bowling was one of the few bright spots for Steve Smith’s side as the right-arm pacer picked up career-best ODI bowling figures of 6-52.

Speaking after the match, Smith had called the bowling display as one of the worst that Australia had put on for a very long time after they conceded 291 before bowling out the Blackcaps in 45 overs.

“I thought it was probably one of the worst bowling displays that we’ve put on for a very long time. We bowled both sides of the wicket. We gave them (New Zealand) a lot of freebies,” the Australian skipper said.

BANGLADESH FOCUS

Having lost their first match of the tournament against England, Bangladesh cannot afford a loss here as a defeat will end their chances of qualifying for the semi-finals.

The Tigers put on a good batting display on Thursday but weren’t able to follow up with the ball as England chased down a target of 306 with ease.

That might tempt Mashrafe Mortaza and co. to give a boost to their bowling resources by including an extra bowler in this match.

Tamim Iqbal (who scored a century) and Mushfiqur Rahim’s performances with the bat were encouraging signs for Bangladesh in the competition’s opener.

DATE, TIME, VENUE INFO

Date: Monday – June 5, 2017

Time: 16:30 GST, 13:30 local, 12:30 GMT, 18:00 IST, 17:30 PKT

Venue: Kennington Oval, London

WHERE TO WATCH, LIVE STREAMING INFO

TV: UAE – OSN Sports Cricket HD

Full coverage on Sport360.com.

CONFIRMED AUSTRALIA XI: Warner, Finch, Smith (c), Head, Henriques, Maxwell, Wade (wk), Starc, Cummins, Zampa, Hazlewood.

CONFIRMED BANGLADESH XI: Tamim, Sarkar, Kayes, Mushfiqur (wk), Shakib, Sabbir, Mahmudullah, Mehedi, Mortaza (c), Mustafizur, Rubel.

SPORT360 MATCH PREDICTION: Second in the ICC ODI rankings, Australia go into the match as huge favourites. Having said that, you can’t put anything past this Bangladesh team who have grown from strength to strength in the last few years.

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Finn called up to replace injured Woakes

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Woakes leaves the field due to a side strain in the match against Bangladesh [Getty Images]

Just one match into ICC Champions Trophy 2017, England were dealt a significant blow with Chris Woakes ruled out of the tournament due to a side strain.

The fast-bowling all-rounder was part of the hosts’ playing XI in their game against Bangladesh at the Kennington Oval on Thursday but went off the field after having bowled just two overs.

It has now been confirmed that Woakes will be replaced in the squad by Steven Finn. The Middlesex pacer featured in the Lord’s ODI in the recent series against South Africa.

Finn has a reasonably good ODI record with 102 wickets to his name in 69 matches at a bowling average of below 30.

England, who are one of the favourites to win the competition, will face New Zealand in their next encounter at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on Tuesday (June 6).

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Kohli insists there are no issues with Kumble

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Virat Kohli.

The Men in Blue have played some cricket over the past week in England. On the field, it has been about two warm-up games against New Zealand and Bangladesh. Easy victories both, they showcased that this Indian team is a well-oiled unit. Shikhar Dhawan got some runs, as did Dinesh Karthik and Hardik Pandya, and the pacers looked in fine form, liking the tasty English conditions.

“The playing combination has been on my mind for the last 5-6 days,” said Virat Kohli, on the eve of India versus Pakistan in Birmingham.

“There are all kinds of possibilities – two spinners, two pacers, three pacers, Hardik Pandya and a spinner, and so on. We will see how the wicket is. The intensity in the warm-up games was really high, and it has given me a good headache as captain.”

No one though was really interested in this routine answer. Everyone gathered at his pre-match conference was inquisitive only about his relationship with coach Anil Kumble. This saga has taken the spotlight away from India’s title defence. So much so, even the mega clash against arch-rivals Pakistan took a back seat. It should have been the first question, really. Well, it was the second.

“There has been a lot of speculation and a lot of things have been written by people who are not part of the changing room, or don’t know what is happening there. It is very strange. There are no problems whatsoever. I have enjoyed working with Anil Kumble over the last year,” said Kohli, when quizzed about his relationship with the legendary leg-spinner turned coach.

“Writers are doing their job, and we are concentrating on our job. The problem is that no one takes responsibility about what is written. If it is wrong, no one comes forward and admits their mistake,” he added.

At first look, it is a routine – even corporate – spin on proceedings. Nothing is wrong and everything is normal. And it might just be, but whatever has emanated from the Indian camp over the course of this past week can’t be called routine or normal.

Let it be stated that reports of this discord didn’t emerge from the travelling media personnel in England. There was nothing untoward to report in the week gone by.

The barrage of leaks back home in India, however, didn’t stop. Someone or other in the BCCI corridors was always eager to talk, and it almost seemed as if those voices wanted a Kohli versus Kumble scenario. The quote-hungry media lapped it up, obviously, even as the Indian team first kept quiet in London and then Birmingham. Additionally, Kohli didn’t douse the flames when asked about the coach’s selection process initiated by the board, either on landing here in England or pre-match yesterday. “There was no problem with the process last year, and it is being repeated this year again (because Kumble had a one-year contract). Why is there a problem now?” asked Kohli.

Objectively, the Indian skipper has a valid point. The BCCI is under the charge of Committee of Administrators (COA) who themselves asked for a repetition of this process. So, what’s the harm? Well, the answer lies in the hyper interest in anything and everything related to Indian cricket. Starting from expectations from players, to crowning them superstars, to accepting wins and losses; over time it has been proven that not a lot in Indian cricket can be taken objectively.

What about the game itself, though? Well, Pakistan have sailed right under the radar, letting the Indian troubles garner headlines. It underlines the danger this team presents on the cricket field. Lightweight in experience, particularly in terms of a big-match temperament, they do have Wahab Riaz, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez, and all of them have played in high-pressure matches. But given the merry-go-round of Pakistan’s selection, and the quality of players in India’s squad at the moment, you only see one winner. At least on paper.

That’s the thing about an India-Pakistan game, though. It is neither played on a piece of parchment, nor does it follow any script.

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