Favourites India facing challenge from lucky Bangladesh in Champions Trophy

India is set to face Bangladesh in the semi-final of the Champions Trophy today in a bid to defend their title. While experts are warning the team not to be complacent, it’s clear that the boys in blue are favourites for a rematch against arch-rivals Pakistan in the semi-final.

They had a near perfect game against South Africa. Chasing a paltry 192, the defending champions completed the formalities with 8 wickets in hand and 72 balls unused. Despite losing to Sri Lanka, India has been one of the stronger teams in this tournament.

Bangladesh, on the other hand, has ridden its luck to advance to the semis. After losing to England, the Tigers were almost down and out but rain got them a solitary point against Australia and they then defeated New Zealand. Australia had the misfortune of having another game called off due to rain, which helped the Asian team to crawl to second spot.

Thankfully for all fans, it doesn’t look like the weather gods are likely to interfere with the India-Bangladesh semifinal encounter. The winner will face Pakistan in the final, who defeated hosts England by 8 wickets yesterday in the first semi.

While the forecast suggests that it will be partially cloudy in Birmingham throughout the day, there is minimal chance for rain. According to Accuweather, the chances of a downpour are as low as zero per cent.

India have only lost once to Bangladesh in a neutral venue.
India have only lost once to Bangladesh in a neutral venue. Photo courtesy: Twitter

Given that there is no reserve day for the semis, if the match is rain-hit, India will advance due to their superior performance in the group stage and better net run rate.

Predicted XI

India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravi Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Bangladesh: Soumya Sarkar, Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudullah Riad, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Sabbir Rahman, Mosaddek Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Mashrafe Mortaza, Rubel Hossain and Mustafizur Rahman.

Stat facts

300 – This will be Yuvraj Singh's 300th ODI. He has 8622 runs in his ODI career so far including 14 centuries.

88 – runs needed by Virat Kohli to reach 8,000 ODI runs. He will be the 8th Indian to achieve the landmark.

4 – wickets required by Ravi Ashwin to complete 150 ODI wickets. He will be the 13th Indian cricketer to reach the milestone.