Birmingham - India captain Virat Kohli has promised there
will be no let-up from the title-holders when they face Bangladesh in the
semi-finals of the Champions Trophy at Edgbaston on Thursday.
After a surprise group defeat by Sri Lanka in a tournament
featuring the world's top eight one-day international sides, India responded to
their 'win or go home' clash against South Africa with a commanding
eight-wicket victory over the top-ranked Proteas at the Oval last weekend.
India's bowlers put the brakes on South Africa's innings
while a trio of run-outs said much about the Proteas' frailty and the improved
fielding standards of Kohli's men.
Needing a mere 192 for victory, Kohli was there at the
finish with 76 not out as India won with a whopping 12 overs to spare.
It was an innings that helped take the India skipper back to
number one in the ICC ODI batting rankings.
Now India return to Edgbaston where they launched their
title-defence with a 124-run thrashing of arch-rivals Pakistan.
"We played in Birmingham before. We like that pitch. It
suits our game," said Kohli after the win over South Africa.
"There's no looking back. There's always room for
improvement. We can't rest on our laurels."
With Pakistan facing tournament hosts England in Wednesday's
first semi-final in Cardiff, three of the four teams left in the tournament are
all from the sub-continent.
Kohli acknowledged the amount of one-day cricket played in
the region was a factor, but he has also been impressed with the way so many of
the Asian nations have adapted to English conditions.
"Maybe because of how much limited-overs cricket we
play, I think the players are getting more experienced in difficult
situations," he said.
"Maybe some of the teams have really surprised the
opposition with the way they have batted and bowled in certain
There was certainly plenty of good work with the ball
carried out by Bangladesh's bowlers as they held New Zealand to a modest 265
for eight in Cardiff last time out.
The Tigers were, however, still looking at an embarrassing
defeat when they slumped to 33 for four in reply.
But Shakib Al Hasan (114) and Mahmudullah (102 not out)
responded to the pressure of a dire position in a must-win game with a
brilliant new Bangladesh record partnership of 224 that turned the match upside
down and eventually saw New Zealand eliminated.
Bangladesh's place in the last four was then confirmed when
England beat Australia at Edgbaston.
India have 26 of their 32 ODIs against Bangladesh, suffering
just five defeats with one no result.
But Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza believes wins such
as the one over New Zealand will bolster the side's already growing
"In the last three years we keep improving a lot,"
he said. "This sort of performance really help us to move forward,
especially with the 2019 World Cup (in England) coming up."