Bangladesh have made their comeback to the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 a memorable one by reserving a berth into the second semi-final. Although a bit of luck favoured them but an emphatic show with the bat against New Zealand chiseled their path into the semi-finals. They now play the defending champions India in the high-voltage second semi-final on Thursday and the anticipation for the same is on a high. Bangladesh are not considered as ‘minnows’ anymore in the contemporary circuit. On the basis of some incredible performances for a while now, Bangladesh have developed into a force to reckon with.
Bangladesh have a polished bowling attack and a good combination of experience and talent in their batting. Although they were not outstanding in the group stages, but semifinal is just about one good outing. They lost to England, then were saved by the rains from another defeat against Australia. But, Bangladesh put up a strong show against New Zealand to have a win under their belt and then a defeat to Australia against England earned them a semi-final berth.
Bangladesh now have a golden chance to make a name for themselves and do the unexpected in the semi-final. They have nothing to lose, as not many expected them to be where they are at the moment. This gives them the license to go all guns blazing and come out hard against the defending champions. India need to pull up and bring their best game out in the knock-out game. They got a reality check against Sri Lanka, where their bowlers turned out to be ineffective against the belligerence of Sri Lankan batsmen. Bangladesh could well take a leaf from Sri Lanka’s book and try to do something similar to what they did.
Bangladesh have a solid batting line-up with the likes of an in-form Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah. Tamim has been prolific at the top and one can except the likes of Soumya Sarkar and Mushfiqur Rahim to step up to the big occasion. The last few matches of the tournament have witnessed some dramatic batting collapses, which has cost the side massively. If Bangladesh are looking to put up a fight, their batsmen will have to score a bulk of runs considering the kind of bowling attack India have.
Bangladesh have some solid depth in their bowling with a variety of options, which comes handy. The experience of Mashrafe Mortaza and Shakib Al Hasan with the ball will test Indian batting. And Mustafizur Rahman’s mystery has caused problems in the past but hasn’t lived up to the expectations in the tournament so far. Rubel Hossain will further strengthen the pace attack along with some sheer pace from Taskin Ahmed. Mosaddek Hossain had a wonderful time with the ball against New Zealand and adds depth to their bowling. India are the clear favourites going into this game but one shouldn’t forget that Bangladesh are well capable of creating an upset. They have done it in the past and will be eyeing to overhaul this hurdle in order to play the final.
India, on the other hand, look to have all their bases covered. But their only weakness, if there is any, lies in their batting. Their top-order has looked in tremendous form, especially Shikhar Dhawan. Both the openers have got good starts on a consistent basis and will have to do so once again in the crunch encounter. But, their batting order hasn’t scored runs a brisk pace. Against Pakistan, it was Yuvraj Singh’s blinder, which provided the much-needed impetus whereas against Sri Lanka, they were certainly few runs short than what they eventually achieved. Although they have a formidable bowling to their advantage, but Bangladesh will look to test their batting.
India have been on a roll in the recent times, they have played like a unit and gelled well with each other. They are undoubtedly looking to defend their ICC Champions Trophy title this edition and to do so they will have to come out hard. Sri Lankan team have been under a rebuilding phase and have failed to possess any great threat to top teams in the recent times. But a collective performance on a given day, saw them beating India comprehensively in the league stages.
A team may look invincible on paper but what really matters is their performance on the field on that particular day. India need to give their best in just two more games in order to lift the title once again and can’t take things lightly against the pumped Bangladesh. Expectations are huge with India which in a way puts pressure as well. It’s a big game for both the teams and the one who absorbs the pressure will meet Pakistan in the final.
England and Pakistan locked horns in the first semi-final. Many expected England to beat Pakistan comprehensively and make their way into the final. England were the red hot favourites going into the tournament and the only team to have won all three games from the league stages. But Pakistan punched above their weight and emerged victorious to book a spot in the final. India should take note of this and try to give their best in the semifinal against Bangladesh.