Reigning champions India will continue their defence of the ICC Champions Trophy at Edgbaston in Birmingham on Thursday, when they face Bangladesh in the tournament’s second semi-final.
The winners of the game on Thursday, will go on to play in the final on Sunday at the Kennington Oval in London, against the winners of the England against Pakistan semi-final, that takes place in Cardiff on Wednesday.
Bangladesh had appeared in only four of the previous seven editions of the tournament, and before the current campaign, had never yet managed to get beyond the group stage, and their presence in the semi-finals this time around is a major surprise.
In their first Group “A” fixture, the Tigers found themselves comprehensively outplayed by England, who were victorious by 8-wickets. A fortuitous outcome against Australia, when rain caused the abandonment of the match with the Australians poised for victory, giving each side one point each, kept their slim hopes of a place in the last four alive.
A five-wicket victory in Cardiff against New Zealand, where they produced their best cricket of the tournament, left the Tigers needing England to defeat Australia on Saturday, in order for them to claim second place in the group. In all events, England secured the victory that saw them top Group “A”, and secured the Tigers a place in the last four.
India’s own path to the semi-finals has been anything but smooth. After opening their campaign with a crushing 124-run success against Pakistan, they gave a less than convincing performance against Sri Lanka at the Oval, and were beaten by 7-wickets.
They were therefore, faced with having to beat the No.1 ranked South Africa, in order to avoid elimination.
A fine performance in the field and with the ball, saw the Indian side dismiss their opponents for less than 200, and they galloped home for the loss of just 2-wickets. India finished at the top of Group “B”, thanks to their superior overall run rate over Pakistan.