India vs Bangladesh: Semi-Final Preview

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Photo Credit: [PAUL ELLIS]/Getty Images

Coming into the tournament, not many would’ve given Bangladesh a chance to even register a win, never mind reach the semi-finals. In what was considered the ‘Group of Death’, with high-flying England, the perennial favorites Australia and the gritty New Zealand, it was hard to see Bangladesh qualifying for the semi-finals. Of course, they were helped by rain, as well. They were four overs away from getting knocked out of the tournament in their second game against Australia. But the rain gods intervened and Bangladesh were given a second life and boy, did they make use of it. They were tottering at 33-4 chasing a solid total of 262 until Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah stitched together a terrific partnership as both of them scored centuries, respectively. England dispatched Australia on the following day and it was confirmed that Bangladesh reached the semi-finals of an ICC event for the first time in their history.

On the other hand, India were one of the favourites coming into the tournament and all was looking good after they comfortably beat arch-rivals Pakistan in their opening encounter. In the next game against Sri Lanka, India put up a good score of 320 but an inspired Sri Lankan side managed to chase it down with more than an over to spare. In what was a must-win knockout game against South Africa, India were dominant with bat and ball and managed to thrash a very good South African side quite comfortably. India were quite brilliant with the ball in that game and restricted South Africa to a mere 184, chasing it down easily without any fuss. India will go into this semi-final with a lot of confidence and will look to reach the final to defend their crown.

Ahead of the game, Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza tried to play down expectations. “It’s a big thing for our cricket,” he said. “It is an opportunity for us but I want to request everybody not to think we will go all the way to win the title. It’s a tournament of the top eight teams and more challenging than the World Cup. So, to be in the semi-final is itself an achievement for us. It is also a reward for our continued effort towards improving our game. I think everyone has contributed to what we are today. The whole nation will be with us as they were in our desperate times and good times.”

Watch Out For:

Ravichandran Ashwin

 

For India, off-spinner Ashwin will have to play a vital role once again. Bangladesh possess dangerous left-handed players like Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal and he will key to dislodging them. Ashwin in one day cricket is a far cry from the Test-match version. His action, his mindset and his bowling armoury is tinkered to suit the shorter version. He has often talked about the value of bowling a rank garbage ball deliberately to prize out a batsman. Ashwin would have been disappointed not to play the first two games and he will be eager to make a big mark to help India reach the final.

Mahmudullah

Bangladesh’s middle order batsman has three centuries in ICC tournaments and played crucial roles in Bangladesh reaching the knockout phase in both the 2015 World Cup and this year’s Champions Trophy. He has the experience to take up the pressure and perform at the biggest stage. He has also been batting at the lower middle order and it wouldn’t be a big surprise if he’s pushed up the order. His ability to consolidate an innings as well as put the foot down if and when required will be of big importance to Bangladesh’s chances.

Team News

It’s very unlikely that India will tinker their combination ahead of the semi-finals and will most likely stick to the same side that beat South Africa. Ashwin was brought in place of Umesh Yadav and with India’s impressive effort with the ball, the holders are likely to be resistant to make a change.

Likely India XI:

  1. Shikhar Dhawan
  2. Rohit Sharma
  3. Virat Kohli (c)
  4. Yuvraj Singh
  5. MS Dhoni (wk)
  6. Kedar Jadhav
  7. Hardik Pandya
  8. Ravichandran Ashwin
  9. Ravindra Jadeja
  10. Bhuvneshwar Kumar
  11. Jasprit Bumrah

 

Bangladesh streamlined their batting line-up in their last match by moving Sabbir Rahman to bat at No.3 and brought in Mosaddek Hossain in the lower middle-order. They might stick to the same XI that played against New Zealand and back them to create history once again in such a crunch match.

Likely Bangladesh XI:

  1. Tamim Iqbal
  2. Soumya Sarkar
  3. Sabbir Rahman
  4. Mushfiqur Rahim (wk)
  5. Mahmudullah
  6. Shakib Al Hasan
  7. Mosaddek Hossain
  8. Mashrafe Mortaza (c)
  9. Taskin Ahmed
  10. Rubel Hossain
  11. Mustafizur Rahman

 

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