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ICC Champions Trophy: What Bangladesh Fans Need To Say Before The Semi Final Against India

14/06/2017 12:13 BST | Updated 14/06/2017 12:14 BST

Bangladesh are in the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy. We did it. The final four. Two games from winning the entire thing. While Australia, Sri Lanka, South Africa* and New Zealand pack their bags and do the online check in for their return flight; Bangladesh head to Birmingham for arguably their biggest game in an ICC event.

And now we face India. Bangladesh fans will go into the match with a lot of belief, but between now and the game there is a lot of fighting talk to be done.

Indian fans will be confident. They'll tell you they'll win. They'll tell you of their record as one of cricket's greatest sides and they'll tell you about the depth and talent they possess.

All of that might be true, but Bangladesh fans will need to hold up their end of the argument - and that is where this article comes in.

In May I wrote an article detailing Bangladesh's group stage matches. It was written for the optimistic Bangladesh fan. I told you what to say during cricket conversations and I gave you comebacks for when you weren't sure how to justify your optimism.

I said that if Bangladesh got to the semi-finals I would cross that bridge when we got to it. Well we have and I am.

Here is what Bangladesh fans need to say ahead of the Champions Trophy semi-final against India.

Semi Final: Bangladesh v India, 15th June, Edgbaston

The head to head record isn't pretty. India have won 26 out of the 32 one day meetings - but Bangladesh have won on two of the last three occasions. Those games happened as part of a best of three in 2015, meaning Bangladesh fans can also state that their team won the last one day series between the two sides.

India fans may quickly point out that when the two sides met for a warm up match two weeks ago Bangladesh were skittled out for 84, losing the match by a massive 240 runs. Be nonchalant and remind them that the game didn't have official status and we didn't even play a full-strength side.

There has only been one 300+ score at Edgbaston this tournament and that was by India, in a game where they thrashed Pakistan. But Bangladesh fans need to argue that their team will be ready for whatever conditions are thrown their way. They have, after all, spent longer training in the UK and Ireland - arriving at the end of April for training and warm up matches in Sussex and Dublin.

 

It breaks my heart, but we need to talk about Banglaore. It was the Twenty20 World Cup in 2016. Bangladesh had restricted India to 146 and had reached 136/6 after 19th over. We needed 11 runs from 6 balls for a historic win. The first ball went for 1, the second and third were smashed to the boundary for 4 each - meaning we only needed two runs from three balls.

Wicket. Wicket. Wicket.

We lost by a single run. Probably one of the most painful recent memories for Bangladesh and one that Indian fans will understandably want to remind us of.

But Bangladesh have grown and matured since then. They've developed cool heads and have experience of handling pressure and digging themselves out of difficult situations. You need look no further than our match against New Zealand, where looking at likely defeat; Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah broke records to win the game. That is the personality of Bangladesh cricket now and India take them on just as they start to fire on all cylinders.

Tournaments are all about maintaining pace and peaking at the right time. The first two games may all have been about Tamim and Mushfiqur, but by the end of the group stages nearly all of our players had clicked into gear. India take us on as we find our form.

If all of that isn't enough its worth remembering that Bangladesh have form when it comes to beating India on the big stage. We dumped them out of the World Cup in 2007 and beat them in the Asia Cup in 2012. Could they do it again in the Champions Trophy 2017? Sure, why not.

*South Africa won't actually be flying back. They play a Twenty20 and test series in England straight after the Champions Trophy, so will do whatever it is teams do to kill time once they've been knocked out of a tournament.