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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

India vs Bangladesh: Virat Kohli & Co. cautious in ICC Champions Trophy semis

Defending champions India play Bangladesh for the first time in ICC Champions Trophy history. Both teams are high on form and recent records are level

icc-champions-trophy-2017 Updated: Jun 14, 2017 22:31 IST
Soumitra Bose
Soumitra Bose
Hindustan Times, Birmingham
Captain Virat Kohli during a practice session ahead of India vs Bangladesh ICC Champions Trophy 2017 semi-finals.
Captain Virat Kohli during a practice session ahead of India vs Bangladesh ICC Champions Trophy 2017 semi-finals.(REUTERSCaptain Captain)

India are seeing Bangladesh as a potential banana skin as the defending champions took fresh guard ahead of their ICC Champions Trophy semifinal against their buoyant sub-continental neighbours here on Thursday.

After two full off days, India sweated it out on a sunny morning at Edgbaston on Wednesday, showing the intensity that a top team should be at the business end of a world tournament.

Sunday’s eight-wicket win against South Africa at The Oval has put India in a good space but Virat Kohli is treating the Bangladesh game with utmost caution.

Read | ICC Champions Trophy: 5 memorable clashes between India and Bangladesh

“We will treat this as our last match as there are no guarantees at this stage,” said Kohli in his pre-match talk.

Bangladesh too are in a good zone.

The five-wicket victory at Cardiff against New Zealand in a winner-goes-to-semis match highlighted the team’s maturity to clinch the big games, and more importantly, keep their faith in breaking audacious partnerships that threaten to take the match away.

Read | I was lucky to live and play cricket for India again: Yuvraj Singh

Although recent records between India and Bangladesh see a pair of wins for both nations, Bangladesh’s ability to keep their excitement in check on what surely will be their greatest day in international cricket will be tested.

Since the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, Bangladesh are a markedly improved side. They not only have the experience in players like Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and skipper Mashrafe Mortaza, the Tigers pride in the fact that they have a quartet of pace bowlers who can run through any quality opposition.

Not getting carried away

Mortaza said keeping composure will be Bangladesh’s biggest test and if the boys can achieve that, India will have a fight on hand.

“We are excited for sure but have to ensure that we play this match like a bilateral series game and not a semifinal match,” the Bangladesh skipper said, indicating how the mind will play its part on such a big occasion for the tournament upstarts.

Read | India superior but don’t count Bangladesh out: Habibul Bashar

Bangladesh have tested various bowling combinations in this Champions Trophy and with a stalwart like Courtney Walsh in the dressing room, there is no shortage of good advice for the bowlers.

The Edgbaston wicket looks full of runs and that will mean the bowlers have a lot of good work to do.

Bangladesh have quality stroke-makers up front and India could be adopting the strategy that worked brilliantly against the South Africans – dry up the runs in the first 10 overs.

Catches win matches

Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar did the containing job with aplomb and Thursday’s match could be decided by the bowlers who bowl the right lengths and the side that holds its catches.

Yuvraj Singh will be playing his 300th ODI on Thursday and Kohli wanted a special innings from the veteran star to mark the occasion.

Read | Yuvraj Singh flaunts superpowers ahead of ICC Champions Trophy SF vs Bangladesh

India’s top five batsmen have been among the runs and it is unlikely Kohli will change the combination that left South Africa reeling in London.

Edgbaston will be bursting at its seams for the India vs Bangladesh match. This West Midlands city has a high density of Asian population and for them India’s place in the semifinals was perhaps a given.

Bangladesh’s entry in the semifinals has taken the world by surprise. But Virat Kohli knows the ill-effects of over-confidence and complacency.

First Published: Jun 14, 2017 22:09 IST

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