ICC Champions Trophy 2017 match preview: New Zealand vs Bangladesh

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Two in-form batsmen: Kane Williamson and Tamim Iqbal [Getty Images]

NEW ZEALAND FOCUS

New Zealand come into this match, knowing well that a victory might not guarantee them a place in the semi-finals.

The Kiwis not only need to get the better of Bangladesh but also have to hope that Australia don’t beat England in the other Group A fixture.

Skipper Kane Williamson has been the star player for New Zealand in the Champions Trophy so far, scoring 100 and 87 in his two innings. But the Blackcaps will need other players to step up and provide more support for Williamson as they look to stay alive in the tournament.

BANGLADESH FOCUS

Bangladesh are in a similar situation as they need results in both the remaining group fixtures to go in their favour. With a higher net run-rate than New Zealand, they are in a slightly better position than the Kiwis though.

A no result in this match could still see Bangladesh make it into the final four if England beat Australia by a sizeable margin.

The most impressive part of Bangladesh’s Champions Trophy campaign has been the form of Tamim Iqbal. The left-handed opening batsman is currently the top run-scorer in the tournament, with 223 runs in two innings.

DATE, TIME, VENUE INFO

Date: June 9, 2017 (Friday)

Time: 13:30 GST, 10:30 local, 09:30 GMT, 15:00 IST, 14:30 PKT

Venue: Sophia Gardens, Cardiff

WHERE TO WATCH, LIVE STREAMING INFO

TV: UAE – OSN Sports Cricket HD

Full coverage on Sport360.com.

PROBABLE NEW ZEALAND XI: Guptill, Ronchi (wk), Williamson (c), Taylor, Broom, Anderson, Neesham, Santner, Milne, Southee, Boult.

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

SPORT360 MATCH PREDICTION: New Zealand go into the match as slight favourites, but they will need to be at their best to get the better of a relentless Bangladesh side.

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What we learned from Pakistan's win over South Africa

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Pakistan put in a much improved fielding display.

Pakistan bounced back from their defeat against arch-rivals India in some style as they defeated South Africa, the world number one ODI team, by 19 runs (via the DLS method) on Wednesday evening

What did the victory mean for Sarfraz Ahmed’s men?

Here’s what we learned from the match.

Share your thoughts with us, too – get in touch on Twitter or via Facebook.

YES, PAKISTAN CAN FIELD

The odds of Pakistan fielders dropping more catches than holding them would have been quite high after their bumbling display against India. But they pulled off a huge surprise with a fantastic performance in the field to prove the trolls wrong and memes that flooded social media platforms following their first match debacle.

Their ground fielding was superb mainly in the 30-yard circle with Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam and the young Shadab Khan denying many a run to the South Africans with their quick anticipation.

Their catching was also equally good, they caught all that came their way with Hasan Ali’s pick-up on the run from mid on to dismiss Kagiso Rabada being the best.

Fielding coach Steve Dixon will be mighty pleased with the players’ efforts as they kept energy and concentration levels high throughout the innings.

PROFESSOR HAS A SAY

The South African batsmen do not fancy their chances against spin and the Pakistanis exploited that to the hilt by unleashing their slow bowlers. Left-arm spinner Imad Wasim had the better figures of 2-20 but it was Mohammad Hafeez’s 10-0-51-1 that strangled the Proteas’ batting the most.

The 36-year-old returned to bowling off-spin only earlier this year after an 18-month absence owing to a one-year ban for an illegal action. But the Professor, as he is known among teammates, showed no signs of rustiness as he bowled 30 dot balls, the most by any Pakistan bowler in the match.

It meant that South Africa did not score a run from five of his overs as he bowled his full quota. Not a big turner of the ball, he did not give much room to the South African batsmen, most of them left-handers, opting for an off and middle stump line.

It was weird that he did not get to bowl against India, but he proved his worth against the Proteas, a defiant 26 with the bat making it an all-round effort.

MILLER’S DEFIANCE COMMENDABLE

It was not the best of times when David Miller walked in to face the Pakistan bowling. South Africa were three wickets down, with the captain AB de Villiers back in the hut and the rival spinners making life difficult in the middle.

To see Miller walk in ahead of JP Duminy, a much better player of spin, was a surprise, as the former is an attacking batsman who loves to hurl the kitchen sink at the bowlers.

The idea may have been for him to hit a few out of the park but the plan went awry because wickets kept falling at the other end with Miller forced to show restrain.

It was against his character but Miller, who turns 28 on Saturday, showed remarkable patience to shore up the South African innings and give the bowling pack a fighting total to bowl at. That he had a strike rate of 72.11, much lower than his career rate of 102.35, and that he hit just one four and three sixes tells the complete story.

Miller's unbeaten 75 helped South Africa post a fighting total [Getty Images]

Miller’s unbeaten 75 helped South Africa post a fighting total.

IS AB OVER THE HILL?

The South African captain’s stay at the crease has been so short in the tournament so far that even before you could say Abraham Benjamin de Villiers he is back in the pavilion.

Against Sri Lanka, he lasted four balls and on Wednesday he was out first ball, a rarity in his one-day international career. It was the only time he got dismissed for a golden duck in 221 ODIs and only the second time he was out without scoring in a 50-overs international match since 2007.

Having redefined the art of batsmanship with his incredible skills for more than a decade since his Test debut in 2004, de Villiers has not been in his element lately.

He did not light up the Indian Premier League either this year, averaging 27.00 from nine games and scored 216 runs with a high of 89. He may yet spring a surprise on us with a cracking display in the tournament but the twin failures indicate his best years might be behind him.

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Champions Trophy: Pakistan defeat South Africa - Three key turning points

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Imad Wasim celebrates after dismissing key man Hashim Amla.

Pakistan put in a top performance to get the better of South Africa by 19 runs (DLS method) at Edgbaston in Birmingham.

Here, we look at three important moments from the match.

IMAD’S BIG SCALP

Imad Wasim, after a poor showing against India in which he went wicketless for 66 runs from his eight overs, bounced back strongly in his first over on Wednesday.

The left-arm spinner picked up the prized scalp of Hashim Amla with his second delivery of the match when the prolific South African run-getter missed a straight ball while trying to get a single and was trapped lbw.

Amla’s wicket was huge because not only was he the in-form batsman (he had scored 103 in the previous game against Sri Lanka) but also the best player of spin in the entire Proteas line-up. With Amla gone early, Pakistan’s tails were up and their bowlers made it count.

HASAN GETS TWO IN TWO

Pakistan really needed to come up with a sterling bowling display if they were to contain a strong South African batting line-up, and while the spinners helped the Green Army wrestle the initiative, they were still not in the clear.

Fast bowler Hasan Ali, who had dismissed Faf du Plessis in his first over, created a big dent in the rival line-up when he sent JP Duminy and Wayne Parnell packing off successive deliveries. He had Duminy edging to slip with an angled ball that straightened after pitching and sent down a similar pacer to castle Parnell.

South Africa, who were shaping up for a fight, were down to 118 for six in the 29th over and from there on it was an uphill task for them.

Hasan, who was guilty of dropping Yuvraj Singh in their Group B opener against India, made amends by picking up two smart catches in this game.

MORKEL PULLS IT BACK

Debutant Fakhar Zaman was making the South African bowlers pay for providing him width by picking boundaries at will and Pakistan were racing towards the target at over six an over.

That’s when Morne Morkel was pressed into the attack and the tall pacer who generates awkward bounce because of his height quickly pegged Pakistan back by claiming both openers in his second over.

The first ball was a bouncer that struck Zaman on his helmet. Having set him up nicely, Morkel followed it up with a slow off-cutter which the left-handed batsman edged to first slip.

He then dismissed Azhar Ali with a short ball but this time the batsman was at fault as despite knowing that a third man was in place he played a shot straight into the fielder’s hands.

The South African bowlers suddenly found new vigour with this double success and sent down three successive maidens to put the pressure back on Pakistan.

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