About the Match
This is not a match many had expected to see as the second semi-final of this edition of Champions Trophy, but credit to Bangladesh for some good cricket, and to the rain gods for helping them out a fair bit, that they will face India in the second semi-final of Champions Trophy 2017. This match will be played at Birmingham on 15th June, and the winner will take their rightful place in the final to be played at The Oval on Sunday.
Bangladesh have returned for this edition of the Champions Trophy at the expense of former champions West Indies, and this itself shows how much progress they have made as an ODI side. Bangladesh began their campaign against the hosts England in the first match of the tournament and they competed well. They batted well and tried very hard in the field, but ultimately fell short and suffered a loss.
In the second game though, Bangladesh were staring at an imminent defeat against Australia when weather saved them, and this meant that they still had a slim chance of making the semi-finals heading into their last group game. The equation was not so simple though. They needed to beat New Zealand in their last group game and then hope that England beat Australia as well.
New Zealand is a very competent ODI unit however, and it was not going to be easy for Bangladesh to get a win against them. However, Bangladesh played their part of the equation to perfection. They played some good cricket, restricted New Zealand to an achievable total, and when it seemed all was lost in the chase, two of their best batsmen, Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah, scored two brilliant hundreds to take Bangladesh home. Then England played their part to perfection as well, they beat Australia, and cleared Bangladesh’s path for the semi-finals.
So, as a result of some good cricket, some help from the rain gods, and some help from other teams, Bangladesh have made the semi-finals and now they would be looking to express themselves without any inhibitions and play some good cricket. To achieve this, Bangladesh has got some great players at their disposal. Tamim Iqbal was superb with the bat in the first two games, and Shakib and Mahmudullah were great in the third game.
Bangladesh has really improved as an ODI unit in the past couple of years, but now they need to jump to the next level. A strong performance in the semi-final of the Champions Trophy will surely bring them into the limelight, but to actually beat India might prove to be a little too much for them.
India entered this edition of the ICC Champions Trophy as the defending champion, and surely played like a champion side in their first game of the tournament against Pakistan. India batted superbly, with all of their top four scoring fifties, and then bowled with lots of venom and discipline to kill the Pakistan chase even before it could get started.
In their second game though, against Sri Lanka, despite the batting coming good again and the bowlers having a good total to work with, the flair and uninhibited stroke play of Sri Lankan batsmen proved to be too much, and India suffered an unexpected loss. This loss meant that India’s last group game, against South Africa, was a virtual quarter final, and the only way for India to make the semis was to get a win.
With such pressure, and the knock out nature of the game, India brought out their A game and beat South Africa as comprehensively as it gets. All the bowlers bowled superbly to restrict South Africa to a sub-par total and then the batsmen, led by the ever consistent Shikhar Dhawan and captain Virat Kohli, made short work of the chase and led India to yet another semi-final in an ICC global tournament.
India has chosen a pretty experienced squad for this tournament and the recent ODI form of almost all their batsmen has been good. Though Captain Virat Kohli did not have a good IPL, but he batted well against Pakistan and South Africa, and this bolsters Indian batting even further. The bowlers all have been in good rhythm recently, and this bodes well for the semi-final.
India is the defending champion and one of the better ODI teams around, and going by the recent ODI form, they have a very good chance of defeating Bangladesh and entering the final. The only worry for India would be complacency and the ability of their bowlers to perform under pressure, and they would strive hard to guard against both.
Bangladesh has definitely worked very hard to reach the semi-finals and they surely deserve all the plaudits for making it this far, but defeating an Indian team which seems to have almost all bases covered looks like too long a stretch. India has a very settled and vastly experienced squad, they are playing at familiar surroundings and have been in very good ODI form recently, and all these factors give them a clear upper hand in this contest