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We want to play with a free mind: Bangladesh skipper Mortaza

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Birmingham: Bangladesh cricket captain Mashrafe Mortaza on Monday said his team wants to play their Champions Trophy semi-final against India without any pressure and that no one should tag them as champions just yet.

“No one should start thinking that we have become champions. Our boys want to play without any pressure and I would want to play with a free mind. There is a process for everything and if we follow that, Inshallah, we will do well,” Mortaza told Bangladesh newspapers ‘Jugantor’.

Bangladesh defied all odds to reach the semi-final of the Champions Trophy and will now take on favourites India here at Edgbaston on Thursday.

Bangladesh lost to England in the tournament opener by eight wickets.

They got some divine help in their second match against title favourites Australia when they were down in the dumps and heavy rain caused the tie to be abandoned and the points were split.

Before the rain, Bangladesh in real danger of losing the game as Australia were 83/1 chasing a below-par 183 for victory.

Bangladesh rode on superb efforts with the bat by Shakib Al-Hasan and Mahmudullah to beat New Zealand in their third game in Group A and book a semi-finals berth.

Apart from Shakib and Mahmudullah, the likes of batsmen Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim have also helped the team to punch above their weight.

To cap things off, Shakib Al-Hasan and Mahmudullah’s magnificent hundreds in a 224-run fifth-wicket stand won them the game against New Zealand after being 33/4 chasing 266.

On Saturday, England’s 40-run win via Duckworth Lewis method against Australia ensured that Bangladesh qualified for the semi-finals.

According to “Jugantor”, skipper Mortaza had sent his family home from Cardiff — Bangladesh’s base for the Group B matches — and other players had started shopping keeping in mind they also might take the flight back provided they don’t make it to the last four stage.

This is the first time Bangladesh have made it to the semi-finals of an ICC tournament.

IANS

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