India-Bangladesh: Totally one-sided, but totally tense

Last Updated: Wed, Jun 14, 2017 17:34 hrs
Yuvraj Singh and Shikhar Dhawan head out for a hit at the nets ahead of India's semi-final clash against Bangladesh

In the 2010s, India and Bangladesh have met 21 times in all international formats combined on the cricket field. Bangladesh won just three of them, that too all on home soil. Such has been India's dominance over Bangladesh.

In fact most of Indian wins against Bangladesh have been totally one-sided. That makes India firm favourites for the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy semi-final at Edgbaston.

The last time Bangladesh beat India in any international game outside Bangladesh was way back in the ODI 2007 World Cup where we exited early. That led to the end of the really controversial Greg Chappell era as coach. Since then we have beaten them in all ICC tournaments: 2009 T20 WC, 2011 ODI WC, 2014 T20 WC, 2015 ODI WC and 2016 T20 WC.

Of course that’s not to say that there’s no tension and drama when the two meet!

Years back a Bangladeshi newspaper gave a fake ad which showed Indian players with half-shaved heads during the Indo-Bangla series of 2015.


Things got much worse before the Asia Cup final of 2016 when a photo went viral of Bangladeshi player Taskin Ahmed holding the severed head of our then captain MS Dhoni. Such gruesomeness was not seen even during our matches with Pakistan.

Dhoni showed who was boss when he hit the winning six, his second of our final over which also included a four. Bangladesh could just look on as India captured the inaugural T20 Asia Cup.

Dhoni got his double revenge during the T20 World Cup in 2016. Bangladesh needed just two runs off the last three balls to win, but Dhoni’s terrific captaincy and field placements meant that Bangladesh lost three wickets in three balls. The last ball run out by Dhoni was pure genius.


But the Bangladeshi fans are at it again and before the semis another viral photo is doing the rounds of a tiger chasing a dog. A Bangladeshi flag has been placed on the tiger while an Indian one on the dog. As the Bangladeshi team continues to lift its game, its fans continue to be more arrogant and boorish.

You may remember the furore created during the Indo-Bangla tie during the 2015 ODI World Cup. Rohit Sharma was caught on a no-ball which the Bangladeshis felt it wasn't. The Bangladeshi fans went ballistic; there were protests in Dhaka and the then ICC chief Bangladeshi Mustafa Kamal threatened to quit calling the decision 'pre-arranged'.


This despite the fact that Rohit was on 90 at that time (he went on to make 137) and it wasn't even a close match and we thrashed them by 109 runs.

Bangladesh will have to look elsewhere for inspiration

Bangladesh has done really well in international cricket but India continues to be their bogey in ICC tournaments. They will have to look to their other performances for inspiration. In fact 2015 was probably Bangladesh’s best year when they won home bilateral ODI series against India, South Africa and Pakistan.

Bangladesh also beat England in the 2015 ODI WC for the second successive time (England lost in 2011 too) to edge them out of the quarter-finals. If Bangladesh does beat India, then they will fancy their chances with England due to that, should the hosts go that far!


Even if it’s Pakistan, then in the last bilateral series, Bangladesh thrashed them 3-0! So you can see, India remains their biggest stumbling block and in the last 10 years has proved to be a bridge too far.

The semis are being played at Edgbaston in Birmingham, which has 6% Indian population and 3% Bangladeshis, so both teams can expect good crowd support.

Indian batsmen firing on all cylinders

Thanks to their many not outs, take a look at the batting averages of Indian batsmen in the current edition of the CT… Virat Kohli (157), Shikhar Dhawan (90.3), MS Dhoni (63), Rohit Sharma (60.3) and Yuvraj Singh (40.5). All the batsmen are in form and that sounds ominous for the Bangladeshi bowlers.

However the Indian bowlers have not done that well. They are not at their best and had a real off day in the match with Sri Lanka which registered their only win of the tournament.


So far in this edition of CT, 12 bowlers have taken 5 or more wickets and not a single Indian is among them! At one level that’s a really dismal performance and they will have to pull up their socks as we cannot rely on the batsmen all the time.

However after the Indian bowlers thrashing they received at the hands of the Lanka batsmen, they did pull it back with South Africa. They will have to take that form into the semis.

Kohli, king of the knockouts…

Captain Kohli recently reclaimed the ICC No. 1 ranking for ODI batsmen and when he’s in form, there’s no stopping him. Plus when it’s an ICC knockout match, Kohli goes berserk and is our most reliable player.

It began in the 2011 ODI World Cup final when India was 31-2 and an 83-run partnership between Gautam Gambhir and Kohli put India on track to win the title. In the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy semis he hit an unbeaten 58 and top scored on both sides in the final with a fine 43(34).


In the 2014 ODI WC, he was the man of the match in the semis and hit a blistering 77(58) in the final but everyone collapsed around him. In the 2016 T20 WC semis, he hit an unbeaten 89 off 47 and had we batted second, we might just have won that match.

Let's see if he can add the 2017 CT semis to that impressive list!

The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here

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