Defending champions India shall lock horns against an upbeat Bangladesh in the second semi-final of the ICC Champions Trophy at Edgbaston, Birmingham on Thursday. The match is scheduled to commence at 3:00 pm.
Going by current form and the quality of players at its disposal, India would start as overwhelming favourites against their South Asian neighbours but one can't rule out Bangladesh who have a reputation of being giant killers at major ICC tournaments. The 'Men in Blue' would not be one bit complacent as they are very well aware of what Bangladesh did to them in the 2007 ICC World Cup.
India vs Bangladesh
India and Bangladesh have played 32 One Day International against each other out of which India have won a staggering 26 encounters. India thus has an overwhelming record against their neighbours. India also holds the edge over Bangladesh in ICC events. After being upset by Bangladesh at the 2007 World Cup, India has won five straight encounters against them at major ICC events.
Road to the semifinals
India topped Group B after securing convincing wins against South Africa and arch-rivals Pakistan but were stunned by a spirited Lankan side. On the other hand, Bangladesh who started off with a loss against hosts England in the tourney opener came back strongly to stun New Zealand, paving their way to a semifinal berth. Bangladesh's progress to the semis was made a little easy with rain abandoning their encounter against Australia.
India would come into the match on the back of a comprehensive win against South Africa in their last group engagement. The 'Men in Blue' have put a splendid all-around performance with both the bat and ball to make it to the last four. The openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have fired on all cylinders, the middle order has provided the impetus down the order and the seamers have struck a purple patch to give the men in Blue regular strikes.
Captain Kohli has made valuable contributions with the bat and helped his team's cause in chasing down tricky totals. The semifinal encounter shall be a milestone game for Yuvraj Singh who shall become the fifth Indian player to feature in 300 one day international games. The lefthander would relish to take up the challenge against Bangladesh at the big stage.
India has a potent spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja who have chipped in with wickets in the middle overs and complimented the seam attack quite well. It will be interesting to see if India retain Ravichandran Ashwin or bring Umesh Yadav back as his pace scared the Bangladeshi batsmen during their 240-run thrashing in a warm-up game.
On the other hand, Bangladesh are no longers minnows of international cricket. They are right up there among the best teams in ODI cricket and their semifinal berth is a testimony to the same. The team possesses some world class players who can swing games in their side's favour. Opener Tamim Iqbal with a century to his name has been in splendid form in the group stages.
Meanwhile, allrounder Mahmadullah and Sakib Al Hassan can be a threat to any team with their all-round ability. Bangladesh has a pretty decent bowling unit with a lot of variety in their seam attack. While skipper Mashrafe Mortaza and Mustafizur Rahman have led their attack well in the recent past, young seamers in Taskin Ahmed and Rubel Hossain can generate brisk pace to cartwheel a few stumps.
ICC Champions Trophy Squads:
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, JaspritBumrah, Umesh Yadav, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Dinesh Karthik, Mohammed Shami.
Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Soumya Sarkar, Sabbir Rahaman, Mahmudullah Riyadh, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Rubel Hossain,Mustafizur Rahaman, Taskin Ahmed, Mehedi Hossain Miraz, Mossadek Hossain, Sunzamul Islam, Shafiul Islam.