Amidst some dramas and not foreseeable results in round robin league encounters the rain impacted ICC Champions trophy 2017 has advanced to business session. Four of the top eight ICC ranked teams qualified for semi-finals with pre-tournament favorites Australia and South Africa getting exit from group stage.
Pakistan will play England at Cardiff on 14 June and Bangladesh takes on India the following day at the Edgbaston, Birmingham.
It is a bit of a surprise that three out of the four teams qualifying for the semi-finals are from South Asia. There is a belief in cricket world that teams from South Asian countries struggle to come to terms with English condition in early summer. The swinging and seaming conditions suit English, Australian. Kiwis and Proteas. But that myth has been changed as three of the four South Asian nations have turned the table on other opponents.
Off course this time unlike earlier, wickets did not have much seam movement, neither the ball swung much in the air. Mostly the batsmen dominated. Uncertain weather especially rain set the fate of some matches. None of the three matches that Australia played could go to distance.
Believe it or not Australia failed to win any match. Rain saved them against New Zealand but deprived them against Bangladesh. They were genuinely beaten by England. South Africa appeared clueless in matches against Pakistan and India. With one win against Sri Lanka they had to leave early.
New Zealand played one good match against Australia and looked like winning till rain washed out the match. They lost matches against Bangladesh and England. Sri Lanka after losing the first match against South Africa beat strong India in a spectacular run chase. But they failed to win against Pakistan in a very tense contest.
With three South Asian teams left to fight it out, there wont any dearth of crowd support. India, Bangladesh and Pakistan have many people living in England and Western Europe. All three matches are expected to be sold out.
With the semi-finals line up drawn fans of different countries have started trolling their opponents in different ways in social media. Some senior ex cricketers are also seen twitting. Cricket is a mere game not a war by any means.
Bangladesh Vs India
The clash of two friendly neighbors these days have started creating heat and excitements like ashes between Australia and England.
India is reigning champions and they have won many global tournaments. But at the same time over the last few years they either lost matches or struggled against Bangladesh. Bangladesh has done wonderfully well in recent times in limited over format of the game.
A young Bangladesh team in 2007 knocked out a formidable Indian team from ICC world cup. Four of the Tiger heroes of that match Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim are still active. Bangladesh beat the team which had all their superstars of the golden era Virendra Shewag, SR Tendukar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Zaheer Khan.
Bangladesh later won match against India in Asia Cup, won bilateral series 2-1. They all but won the T20I match in T20 World Cup. Though India is well balanced and in great form now Bangladesh is no longer a push over.
Young prodigy Mustafizur Rahman can be a headache for India if Mashrafe can use him smartly. Taskin Ahmed, in the past had successes against India. Captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza can also recall many successful spells against India also. Star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan has to settle few scores against India also.
Indian batsmen may not have much liberty against quality Bangladesh attack. In batting also Tamim, Mushfique, Shakib and Mahmudullah are in great touch. Blockbuster innings are also due from Soumya Sarkar and Sabbir Rahman.
We are sure after that batting debacle against India in practice match Bangladesh would come with proper homework’s against Indian attack. B Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah appear to have adjusted well to English wickets and conditions.
India has quality depth in pace bowling. Yadav and Mohammad Sami are also very useful. But Bangladesh have to deal with Ravindra Jadeja well.
We are sure with four left handers in Bangladesh team Ravichandran Ashwin would also play. This Indian batting line up with Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Yuvaraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni is very strong but not better than what Bangladesh overcame in 2007.
The same line up lost series in 2015 in Bangladesh. Tigers are more matured now and eager to win. It will be any boy’s game.
Any combination in the final whether it is England –India, England –Bangladesh, India –Pakistan or Bangladesh – Pakistan are possibilities. Let us hope rain stays away. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday would witness fascinating contest of top quality cricket in ICC Champions trophy.
The team that soaks pressure well would win. It can be Bangladesh as well. How fitting it would be that great Mashrafe Vin Mortaza holding the trophy high above his head. Did you see how Tiger Mashrafe roared after winning the match against New Zealand?