Can Tigers halt India\'s juggernaut? [ ] 15/06/2017
Can Tigers halt India's juggernaut?
Pakistan thump England
When Bangladesh take on India in the second semifinal at Edgbaston today they will want to continue their dream run in the ICC Champions Trophy.

The Tigers are already in a territory they have never been before in an ICC flagship event and a victory against Virat Kohli's India will not only be treated as the biggest sporting moment but one of the few glorious achievements for a thriving nation.

The whole country, which is still reeling from the shock of landslides in the hilly districts that claimed 138 lives, will turn its focus to Edgbaston when the Tigers set out for mission impossible at 3.30pm.

It is not just that India are the defending champions of the 'Champions', they also showed the Tigers a bit of their ruthless skill by winning a practice game at The Oval by a massive 240 runs. It was a game where Bangladesh were bowled out for 84, chasing India's 324.

Besides, Bangladesh have never played a competitive game at Edgbaston before. They played their first practice match ahead of the tournament against Pakistan and lost despite scoring a huge 341.

India have won 26 of their 32 ODIs against Bangladesh, who won five and the other game produced a no-result. In that context Bangladesh stand little chance against a mighty India, who not only boast of an imposing batting line-up but also a very good pace battery.

Before going into the semifinal India captain Kohli said: “Everyone wants to see an India-England final.”

It is quite logical for Kohli, the number one batsman in the world, to see his team in the final against England.  But this is something 'everyone' would not agree. After all, Pakistan thumped England by eight wickets yesterday in the first semifinal.

And India's place in the final is also not guaranteed. They might be licking their lips looking at the Edgbaston wicket, which the groundstaff were mowing in a way as if it was having a clean shave.

But they will be up against a team desperate to shed the lightweights' tag. India might have won 26 but two out of Bangladesh's five wins came as recently as 2015, a year in which they established their home dominance.

The Tigers have been playing fearless cricket for the last couple of years and the way they have adjusted to the English conditions in this tournament so far showed their ability to adapt to alien conditions like other big teams.

The fantastic five of Bangladesh cricket -- skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Shakib Al-Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudullah Riyad and Mushfiqur Rahim -- have already come to the party. The young brigade of Soumya Sarkar, Sabbir Rahman and Mosaddek Hossain might not have expressed themselves yet. And if Soumya times the ball well, Sabbir gets his act together and Mosaddek shows the maturity beyond his age, the Tigers have every chance to take the game to the Indians.

There was a time when Bangladesh's bowing was heavily reliant on spinners. But under Mashrafe it has changed refreshingly. They played with four pacers against New Zealand and the variety in the attack also impressed most. Mustafizur Rahman might not have been effective with his cutters in these conditions, but the young left-arm pace bowler can still be a potent weapon in the semifinal.

Appearing at the pre-match briefing, the Tigers captain said that he was not sure if the semifinal against India is the biggest match ever for Bangladesh. It is a riddle for anyone but if one goes by his words there might still be a bigger game in store for the Tigers. Let's pray for a cracker of a game under glorious sunshine and hope that emotions do not triumph over wisdom, which was the case in the 2015 World Cup quarterfinal in Australia and the 2016 World T20 group stage game against the same team in India.
 
 
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