Champions Trophy 2017: Semi-Final 2, Bangladesh v India

Second Semi-Final – Bangladesh v India

Thursday June 15th, 7:30pm AEST

After topping a tight Group B, India will be hoping to take another step towards back-to-back Champions Trophy titles by overcoming surprise-packets Bangladesh at Edgbaston on Thursday.


India

India ensured their place in the semi-finals with a comprehensive win over South Africa at The Oval on Sunday.

With captain Virat Kohli winning the toss and choosing to bowl first, the Proteas actually got off to promising, albeit cautious, start, moving to 76 without loss in the 18th over. However from there the Indians put the squeeze on and negated all attempts from South Africa to step up the run rate, knocking them over for a paltry 191.

Canny duo Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2/23 off 7.3 overs) and Jasprit Bumrah (2/28 off eight overs) were the pick of the bowlers, however India’s energy in the field was notable, executing three runs outs.

After three consecutive fifties in ODI cricket, opener Rohit Sharma was removed for just 12, however his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan (78 off 83 balls) together with skipper Kohli (76 not out off 101 balls) ensured that the Indians passed the target comfortably, with eight wickets in hand and a whopping 12 overs to spare. Having been recalled in place of Umesh Yadav, off-spinner Ravi Ashwin is expected to retain his place in the starting XI after a steady performance against South Africa.


Bangladesh

Bangladesh won through to their first semi-final appearances in a major ICC competition by shocking New Zealand in Cardiff last Friday.

With the Black Caps batting first and reaching 3/201 approaching the last ten overs, they seemed set for a considerable total. However it was the unlikely source of off-spinner Mosaddek Hossain who ran through the Kiwis middle-order, picking up 3/13 off three overs, as New Zealand stumbled to 8/265. In his first appearance in the tournament, young quick Taskin Ahmed also played a key role, finishing with 2/43 off eight overs.

In reply the Tigers soon found themselves in a spot of bother, slumping to 4/33 in the 12th over. However what followed was one of the most remarkable and famous partnerships in Bangladesh’s relatively short history, with veterans Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah combining for 224 off just 209 balls to steer the underdogs home. Shakib was eventually dismissed for a stunning 114 off 115 balls, however Mahmudullah was there at the finish, also reaching three-figures to remain 102 not out from 107 deliveries.

No changes are expected for Bangladesh ahead of arguably the biggest match in their history.


Edgbaston

All four matches played at Edgbaston in this competition have been impacted by adverse weather although the forecast looks much more promising this time around which should negate any toss bias. Average first innings score in those four games has been 8/277 with three out of four totals exceeding 275. Edgbaston has actually been a happy hunting ground for India who have won their last four ODIs at the ground.


Key Stats

  • India have now won five of their past seven ODIs.
  • India have lost only one of four semi-finals in the Champions Trophy.
  • Bangladesh have won only two of their past nine ODIs in England.
  • However Bangladesh have won two of their past three ODIs against India.
  • Tamim Iqbal has top-scored in six of his last ten ODIs.

The Verdict

It comes as little surprise that India are firm favourites to advance to the finale with Bangladesh considered an outside chance at best.

India appear to be hitting their straps just at the right time, although they have shown plenty of consistency at the top of the order throughout the competition with Rohit and Dhawan regularly getting them off to a strong start, while at first drop Kohli has shown signs of getting back to his best.

Where they have truly defied the doubters is in the field with Bhuvneshwar leading from the front, while spinners Ashwin and Jadeja look set to leave their mark on the tournament. However it’s not often you’ll see such a short price for a knockout game and I’d want to see more quality across the board before backing such skinny odds.

As far as Bangladesh are concerned, many will point to the fact that they received some help from the weather to reach their first ever major semi, however had all games in Group A been allowed to reach their natural conclusion then in all likelihood the Tigers would still have claimed second spot.

They are the only side with three separate century-makers (Shakib, Mahmudullah and Tamim), while in the field they have just done enough although there is plenty of room for improvement, especially from gun left-arm quick Mustafizur Rahman who has taken only one wicket so far. The depth of experience in their squad should ensure that they are not overawed by the occasion, however I don’t have subsequent faith to be backing them in such a momentous encounter just yet.

That leaves us to search elsewhere for value and I believe there is some to be found in the Bangladesh Top Batsman market. Opener Tamim Iqbal was dismissed for a second-ball duck against New Zealand, however he has been in a rich vein of form, scoring 612 runs in his past ten innings at an awesome average of 68.00 with four fifties and two hundreds.

Most pertinently he has top-scored in six of his last ten ODI innings, including three of his past four. With 172 ODIs behind him, there is no reason why nerves should get the better of Tamim in a big semi-final so I am happy to back the powerful left-hander to top-score again here.


Betting Strategy

BACK – Tamim Iqbal Top Bangladesh Batsman at 4.25 or bigger for 1 unit.


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