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PREVIEW: Fearless Bangladesh Take on Defending Champions India
ICC Champions Trophy

PREVIEW: Fearless Bangladesh Take on Defending Champions India

The road till here

The second semi-final of the Champions Trophy will be played between Bangladesh and India on Thursday at Edgbaston. Bangladesh made history as they qualified for a major ICC tournament semi-final for the first time whereas India will be playing their fourth semi-final in four years.

At the start of the tournament not many would have pinned hopes on Bangladesh to qualify for the next round but rain, luck and fearless cricket helped their cause. They were beaten comprehensively in their first match by England. Rain saved Bangladesh in their second match against Australia as it ended in no result. In their final match against New Zealand, a fairytale chase by Shakib al Hasan and Mahmudullah sealed the deal for them. All Bangladesh had to do now was pray that England continued their dominance against Australia and helped them into semis.

India started as tournament favourites along with England. They kicked off their campaign by thrashing Pakistan in the first match. In their next match, a fearless Sri Lanka produced an upset by chasing 322 for the loss of 3 wickets. India came back strongly in their virtual quarterfinal against South Africa; their bowlers restricted South Africa to 191 and the batsmen chased down the target in 38 overs.

What to expect

This will be the first time both teams will be facing off each other in an ODI since their last bilateral series back in 2015. Bangladesh won that series 2-1. They did play each other in a warm-up game right before the tournament. Bangladesh were all out for 84 in pursuit of 325.

India is yet to have a batting collapse in this tournament. Their top order has performed consistently: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh all average above 40 in three matches. The middle order was exposed only once; in the match against Sri Lanka when Kohli was out on a duck. It will be interesting to sew how rest of the batting plays if top order fails against Bangladesh.

Indian bowlers and fielders will be on a high from their performance against South Africa. It is highly like that India will stick with the same playing XI.

Apart from Tamim Iqbal who averages 74, the top order has failed to deliver. If Bangladesh want to get the better of India, their top order will have to perform. Shakib and Mahmudullah scored hundred each in the last match against Kiwis, one of them will have to do the same against India. None of the bowlers have left an impact yet. The fast bowlers will have to step up as well. Mustafizur and Mashrafe need to take early wickets in order to expose the Indian middle/lower middle order. Mosaddek Hussain with 3 wickets in 2 matches is their leading wicket taker.

Probable XI

Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Sabbir Rahman, Mushfiqur Rahim(wk), Shakib al Hasan, Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hussain, Taskin Ahmed, Mashrafe Mortaza(c), Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman.

India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli(c), Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni(wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravi Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Players that can make a difference

Shikhar Dhawan: He has owned the Champions Trophy so far just like he did in the previous edition. Dhawan will be keen to score big in the semi-final against Bangladesh to further improve his record. He is the highest run scorer with 271 runs at an average of 90.33. And in the last 8 CT innings: 609 runs at an average of 101.5, 3 100s and 3 50s.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar: He played a vital role in choking the South African batsmen and force the collapse. In the warm-up game against Bangladesh, he took 3 for 13. Kumar is also India’s most economical bowler this tournament.

Shakib al Hasan: The record match winning partnership of 224 between Shakib and Mahmudullah against New Zealand came just at the right time for Bangladesh; it gave Shakib and his team the much needed boost in this competition. He’ll have to play an instrumental role with both bat and ball if Bangladesh want to qualify for the final.

Mustafizur Rahman: He started his international career against India, came into limelight by taking 11 wickets in his first two ODIs and helped Bangladesh win their first ever series against them. If there ever was a time to repeat that remarkable performance it has to be now. He hasn’t taken wickets in this tournament but Mustafizur surely has the skill to dismantle the Indian batting.

Stat Alert

Bangladesh and India have played 32 ODIs, India won 26 and Bangladesh 5.

One of these 5 wins for Bangladesh came in the 2007 World Cup.

Kohli averages 69.75 against Bangladesh