Smith: We either beat England or go home

“We have to beat England and I think then we’re through”

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Australia captain Steve Smith admitted that his side face two situations when they go up against England in the Champions Trophy on Saturday. Either they win and keep their hopes of reaching the semi-finals alive or they lose and be eliminated from the tournament.

Australia have found themselves in this predicament after both their games against New Zealand and Bangladesh were washed out.

Smith conceded he was frustrated that the match against Bangladesh had been abandoned 16 overs into his side’s chase of 183. Had four more overs been bowled, Australia would have won the match as they were well ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern par score of 48 they needed to have after 20 overs.

“Disappointing not to get a result but we can’t do much about the weather,” he said. “The equation is pretty simple for us now. We have to beat England and I think then we’re through.”

Smith added that he respected the umpires’ decision to take them off the field, but pointed out that the ground staff could have been a bit more active in trying to ensure play resumed had the rain stopped.

The rain did relent for a period of 45 minutes, but the umpires insisted that the conditions not good enough to warrant the players coming back out onto the field.

“A little bit frustrating,” Smith said. “The groundsmen perhaps could have shown a bit more urgency, being a big tournament, but I think they did the best job they could and the umpires said it was an 8.30 pm start, so you’ve got to do what they say.

“Of course I didn’t want to go off, I was happy to keep batting through the rain. But the umpires are there to make a decision and I think drinks was at the end of that over, which probably didn’t help. If the game had just carried on, perhaps they may have had a different opinion. But to be fair it was raining reasonably hard when we came off.”

If Australia’s final group stage match against England is washed out as well, they technically still have a chance of making it to the semi-finals, but only if New Zealand’s games against England and Bangladesh are abandoned.

New Zealand will face England in Cardiff on Tuesday and rain is expected to affect the match. If the rain has the final say, then Australia will be praying to the rain Gods to ensure the same thing happens when the Black Caps take on Bangladesh in Cardiff on Friday.

As for Bangladesh, they need to beat New Zealand on Friday to keep their hopes of advancing to the last four alive. Should they do that and should England beat New Zealand and Australia, their spot in the semi-finals will be guaranteed.

But, if England beat New Zealand on Tuesday and Australia defeat England on Saturday, Bangladesh will be returning home as England and Australia will make it through.

Despite the complicated situation his side find themselves in, Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza reminisced about how his side qualified for the quarter-finals at the 2015 World Cup after they got a crucial point from their game against Australia, which ended up being abandoned.

“I can remember in the 2015 World Cup, we got one point from Australia and it really helped us go through,” Mortaza said. “This time we’ve got a straight chance, even though we have to beat New Zealand. So our job is to play hard against New Zealand and you never know.

“If you look at today’s match, I think Australia was far ahead of us. But in the last match, against New Zealand, I think Australia were in the same position. You can’t do anything with the weather so, as I said, both teams are now in the situation where Australia has to win against England and we have a great chance to beat New Zealand and go through.”

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