It does not matter that India is reigning champions or a hot favorite team for the Champion’s Trophy, 2017. Talented Bangladesh cricketers are well equipped and accomplished for turning the table on the favorites.
India has a lot at stake Bangladesh has nothing to lose. Bangladesh India matches these days is no less popular sporting event than ashes or India Pakistan derby. Bangladesh became worthy opponents of team India in global and bilateral ODI matches winning the most. The recent off course was in T20I World Cup which Bangladesh all but won.
Before than in 2015 Bangladesh avenged its disputed World Cup loss with 2-1 bilateral ODI series win. Wonder boy Mustafizur Rahman shocked and awed mighty India with his mysterious bowling.
India must not have forgotten Bangladesh knocking a title aspirant strong India out of world cup in 2007. MS Dhoni is lone survivor of India of that bitter memory. But Bangladesh has more matured Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim – the heroes of that Bangladesh triumph.
Bangladesh for this tournament is well prepared. This Bangladesh team on its day can win against the best of the bests. The way it won the very important last match of the group against New Zealand bouncing back from 33/4 with milestone setting wonderful batting performance of Shakib and Mahmudullah has earned well deserved appreciation of cricket maestros.
There is nothing called stronger on paper. Paper Tigers matters little in the actual contest. Team that performs on the day wins. Bangladesh off late is performing and winning. Even in the only match they lost in the tournament against England Bangladesh scored 305 but could not defend as they did not have the right bowling combination on the day.
Tamim, Shakib, Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah are in prolific form with the bat, Soumya and Sabbir are due for characteristic blockbuster innings.
Indian bowling in English condition is definitely not better than English and Kiwis. This Bangladesh team cares little about fame and records of any bowler. They are brave stroke makers and can take apart any bowling attack when on song. Indian bowling may not be much of an issue for Bangladesh scoring 300 plus if they bat first.
But batting order needs reviewing. It will far more appropriate playing Mahmudullah at number three. He has technique, temperament and skills for playing long innings. In case of early wicket going down or after a substantially large opening partnership he can keep the score board ticking through rotating the strikes. He has all the strokes in his repertoire as well and he executes these with clinical perfections.
Tamim is expected to appear at his belligerent best. He is the most successful batsman in group stage and is expected to carry his form into semi-final. Young Soumya is also expected to produce a power packed innings. With Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur and Shakib following Tamim and or Soumya should aim digging deep.
Mosaddek, Sabbir can build on the early order set platform. Bangladesh should play carefully against Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah or Kumar Yadav must not trouble them on Edgbaston wicket.
But Bangladesh must bowl well and field energetically. They must plan for quality Indian batsmen. Mustafizur Rahman will definitely cause headache for Indian batsmen. World knows Mustafiz as a cutter master. If someone followed captain Mashrafe off late has not he got most of his wickets with cutters?
Taskin Ahmed and Rubel Hossain bowled well against New Zealand. Bangladesh four prong pace attack is no less potent than any team of the tournament. Shakib indicated to get back his control over his line and length in the last match.
I would suggest reviewing playing Mehedi Miraz in place of out of form Sabbir for another bowling option. He is not a less quality batsman. Bangladesh needs removing Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli before they dig in.
Mashrafe must use his wicket taking options smartly. Mustafiz in his second and final spell can castle the middle order and tail if Mashrafe, Rubel, Taskin, Shakib can team up well in bowling tight. Indian batting can be castled.
Indian team will be under lot of pressure for defending their fame. If Bangladesh bowls and fields well, restricting India around 250-260 cannot be impossible task. In any case Bangladesh must not be considered as a mismatch with India under any case. They have potential for beating India. Let sunshine on Tigers today at Edgbaston.
Khondkar Saleque Sufi is an eminent Research Fellow of Monash University, Australia, He was the former Advisor at Ministry of Mines & Petroleum of Republic of Afghanistan and Deputy General Manager of Bakhrabad Gas Systems Ltd.