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India will step in as the favourite against Mashrafe Mortaza’s men, who in a classic case of sibling rivalry, would love to stun their big brother. They have done that in the past, be it the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies or during an Asia Cup encounter at Dhaka in 2012. The last-referred clash featured Sachin Tendulkar’s 100th international ton but Mushfiqur Rahim and company ruined the maestro’s party. 

Bangladesh has shown that it can punch above its weight and it did that against South Africa and the West Indies. Shakib Al Hasan has been the pivot, crafting stupendous efforts, be it in batting or while wheeling his left-arm spin. The all-rounder has aggregated 476 runs and 10 wickets so far in this World Cup. With other seniors around him like Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur and Mortaza, Shakib has lent hope to the denizens back home. Perhaps he mirrors the following line from Monica Ali’s book Brick Lane that chronicled the Bangladeshi disapora’s angst in London: “If you are strong, you withstand the storm.” 

India needs a triumph to seal its semifinal berth while Bangladesh yearns for a win to keep its almost improbable last-four hopes alive. Time to say ‘game on’and this is far superior to the debates about which hilsa fish is tastier, the one you savour in Kolkata or the other you relish at Dhaka! 

TEAMS:

India: Virat Kohli (Capt.), Rohit Sharma, M.S. Dhoni, K.L. Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav and Rishabh Pant.

Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (Capt.), Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Abu Jayed, Liton Das, Mahmudullah, Mehidy Hasan, Mohammad Mithun, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mosaddek Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Sabbir Rahman and Soumya Sarkar.



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