England defeated Australia today in a rain-shortened game with the result that Australia did not make the semi-final round of the ICC Champions Trophy tournament, a shock for this perennial cricket powerhouse. As a result, Bangladesh now joins England (who had already qualified) in that round, a result that must be causing massive celebrations in that cricket-mad country. Bangladesh have shown that they are no longer capable of just the occasional win, since their first match with England was closely fought and they also beat New Zealand. They also beat England and eliminated them from the 2015 World Cup and now they have done the same for Australia. In 2015 they made it to the quarterfinal round and thus this is their best showing so far. If they and England win their semi-final games against opponents that will be determined after Sunday and Monday’s games, the final will be between them, mirroring the opening game.
Although rain affected all three of Australia’s matches such that two ended in no results, they still played well below par. England definitely outplayed them today and in their two games where rain resulted in no-decisions, it was a wash (pardon the pun). New Zealand looked like they would beat them but they seemed to have the better of Bangladesh.
As for England, for the longest time they seemed to have difficulty getting the hang of the shortened forms of the game and would lose to teams of lesser ability. They finally seem to have got their strategy figured out and are winning more consistently. Aided by the fact that the tournament is being played in England and they have familiarity with the cold and damp conditions there, it would not be a surprise to see them win the championship, especially if India, a team that regularly beats them, gets eliminated before the finals.
So we are in for an exciting final phase of the tournament, as long as the rain keeps away.