Bangladesh hasn   t had a great run in the competition so far    Getty Images
Bangladesh hasn t had a great run in the competition so far Getty Images

Bangladesh gets one final chance to make an impression in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, in what is a must-win contest in Cardiff on Friday not just for it but also for its opponent New Zealand. Both teams have just one point after two Group A matches each, and a victory will far from assure either of a place in the semi-final, but that is not in their control. What the teams can target is a complete all-round show and two points, which will keep their interest alive until the England-Australia showdown the following day at Edgbaston. Bangladesh hasn t had a great run in the competition so far, but it has the opportunity to put its disappointing performances behind it. The one standout feature of its campaign thus far has been the lack of consistency. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: New Zealand vs Bangladesh, ICC Champions Trophy 2017 – Match 9 at Cardiff

The batting was fairly good in the first game against England, but the bowling was a big letdown. In the second match against Australia, with the exception of Tamim Iqbal, the batting failed to rise to the occasion, but the bowling was reasonably disciplined. Had that match gone the distance, there is every possibility that Australia would have still scaled down the modest target, but the washout has given Bangladesh a theoretical chance at making it to the next stage, and it must now marry its good fortune with good skills.

This being last-chance salon, Bangladesh can ill-afford any more slip-ups. It needs to play its best game of the competition. With qualification looking a little difficult, perhaps it will free its mind and play the kind of cricket that has brought it so much success, most of it at home, in the last two years. ICC CT 2017: BAN have been pretty disappointed with underwhelming batting performance

As we have said in the past, I don t think it is a question of lack of skills or ability in the Bangladesh ranks. What has been conspicuously missing is an aggressive, positive mindset, free of the fear of failure. The core group of this side has been together for the better part of a decade now and has showcased its quality across the globe; on such a massive stage, this will be as good a time as any to shed the diffidence of the last two games and play with freedom and confidence.

New Zealand will be determined not to allow that, of course. Traditionally, New Zealand has tended to fly under the radar. It is not the most glamorous team, but it has always been a force to reckon with in ICC events, which is a tribute to its resilience and determination. It made it to the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, and even though it doesn t have the talismanic Brendon McCullum to fall back on any more, it can only be taken for granted at your own peril. BAN vs AUS, ICC Champions Trophy 2017, Match 5 at The Oval: Highlights

I just hope the weather doesn t have the final say, because one point each is not going to help either side. At the end of the day, you would rather be eliminated on the field of play than through extraneous factors, so for the sake of the competition, I hope we have a full 100-over game at a venue that is special for Bangladesh cricket. Only Mashrafe Mortaza from this current squad was around when we defeated Australia at Cardiff Wales Stadium in 2005. That was one of our biggest victories then, and I was fortunate enough to not just captain the side but also have the best seat in the stadium during my 130-run partnership with Mohammad Ashraful that set up our five-wicket victory.

In those days, we hardly played the big boys on a regular basis, therefore, that stunning win over a full-strength and very intimidating Australian team will remain one of the highest points in Bangladesh cricket. I am sure Mashrafe will have spoken of that victory to his younger team-mates; sometimes, returning to a venue that has happy memories for the country can work wonders, and that s what Mashrafe and the whole of Bangladesh will be hoping is the case. ICC Champions Trophy 2017: Bangladesh vs Australia tie will be crucial for both sides

The Bangladesh team of today is a lot more rounded and experienced outfit that has rubbed shoulders with the best in the business on a consistent basis. Therefore, there should be no danger of awe or stage-fright holding it back. For a while now, however, there is this feeling among the other cricketing nations that Bangladesh are tigers only at home. The team went some way towards exploding that theory with its recent win against New Zealand in the tri-series in Ireland.

Admittedly, this New Zealand side is a lot stronger than the one which played in Ireland, but if Bangladesh can take some of the feel-good from that result and produce its A game, we should have quite a contest. Weather permitting, of course.

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