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“Being in the semi-final itself is an achievement for us,” said Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza when asked about his team’ remarkable run in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. Clubbed in a group that had hosts England, Australia and New Zealand, Bangladesh were favoured to be one of the first teams that will be shown the door in the group stage. Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah, Tamim Iqbal, Mortaza’s fearlessness and some rains have given Bangladesh a leg up and they now play defending champions India in the semi-final.
India, on the other hand, are one of the favourites to win the title. But the concept of favourites for anything has gone for a toss in this tournament. If the predictions were to be believed, it should have been India, England, Australia/New Zealand and South Africa in the semi-finals. While India and England are through, it is Pakistan and Bangladesh who have made it over the rest of the teams.
Hence, India will still be favourites when they walk onto the pitch at Edgbaston on Thursday. Mortaza’s statement is also a clear indicator that they will come into the match with nothing to lose and everything to win. It was a pace-heavy bowling attack that helped Bangladesh trounce New Zealand and one can expect the likes of Rubel Hossain and Taskin Ahmed to feature against India. India may just stick with the combination that reaped them so much benefits in their match against South Africa at The Oval.
The last time India and Bangladesh played in an ICC tournament was in the 2016 ICC World T20I. Bangladesh had to endure a heart-breaking one-run defeat in that instance. India have the obvious upper hand over their neghbours in almost every way but how much of the emotions of that match Mashrafe Mortaza will use to rile his forces will be seen at Edgbaston.