Kolkata: This edition of the Champions Trophy is perhaps the most exciting ICC tournament in the recent years. With a lot of matches producing outcomes that are way different than what was expected, the semi-final clash between defending champions India and Bangladesh is going to be one cracker of a match.
These two teams have shared quite a bit of rivalry in the past few years. In the last edition of the World Cup in 2015, Bangladesh made it to the quarter-finals for the first time in it’s cricketing history only to be trampled by India.
From the outside, it might look like any other game but it wasn’t free of controversy as the centurion in the match- Rohit Sharma, while trying to clear the field was caught of the bowling of Rubel Hossain but later it turned out to be a no-ball. Sharma, then went on to score a ton and help India post a 300+ run total in the match.
To this day, many in the Bangladeshi camp believe that they were wronged and that wasn’t a no- ball and that remains a unsolved issue in their minds.
However, their next major ICC tournament meeting was during the ICC World T20 in India last year where it was one memorable game for the entire cricketing fraternity where Bangladesh, despite being in a superior position went on to lose the match by a solitary run.
Another factor that has been very consistent along with the recent performances of Bangladesh is that their fans have taken the fight against India to a very nasty level often morphing pictures of the Indian cricket team along with their own stars where they have humiliated the former.
Such an example can be drawn from the 2015 ODI series between these two teams. Mustafizur Rahman, who made his debut for Bangladesh had become the nemesis of Indian batting throughout the series as they went on to win 2-1.
After that, a picture had circulated on the internet with the Indian cricketers standing with their heads half-shaved with Mustafizur holding the razor. This led to the bad blood between these two teams.
Before the Asia Cup final a year later, another morphed picture appeared on the internet and this time it was pacer Taskin Ahmed holding Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s head in his hands-symbolising that he had beheaded the Indian star. Dhoni replied back with some powerful hits in the Asia Cup final to hand India a victory.
This time too, the scenario is the same. Now, after they were confirmed to battle it out against India in the semis, a picture again was circulated where a tiger was wearing a Bangladeshi flag and was jumping higher than a dog, who had the Indian flag on him. This time, they have indeed crossed all limits as the national flag has been insulted.
Nonetheless, they meet again and this time it is the semi-finals of the ‘mini World Cup’. India, the title holders had a pretty much good tournament barring that shock defeat to Sri Lanka and are looking all good to retain the crown they won four years back. Their batting has been exception with Shikhar Dhawan being in his prime. Rohit Sharma too is in solid touch followed by skipper Virat Kohli, who just became the number one ranked ODI batsman.
The middle order too has come good with Yuvraj Singh and Dhoni. Not to forget Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya, who can up the scoring rate at any time in the innings. Their bowling too has been pretty decent so far and their fielding was nothing short of exception in the last game against South Africa.
Bangladesh however would also carry a lot of momentum from their spectacular come-from-behind win over New Zealand. Their bowling and fielding are good but they need to come up with something really special if they have to beat India on the big day.
India vs Bangladesh has a lot of history attached to it but the one which the Bangladeshis would like to remember is the 2007 World Cup, where they had thoroughly outplayed the Indians. Also, this is Bangladesh’s first ever semi-final of an ICC event, something which is going to pump them up even more.
India, the favourites undoubtedly would look to repeat their performance against South Africa, and proceed to the finals, where unexpectedly their arch-rivals Pakistan have already booked a berth. An India-Pakistan final on a Sunday afternoon! What can get better than this?
But before that, the Indians need to go through a strong Bangladeshi side. Mashrafe Mortaza’s men on the other hand would want to make this first semi-final of theirs a memorable one for their fans in England and back home in Bangladesh. An interesting contest awaits us at Edgebaston.