ICC Champions Trophy 2017: Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah and other Bangladesh players to watch out for

Dilip Unnikrishnan, Jun, 15 2017

India versus Bangladesh has never been much of a rivalry as the Men in Blue had largely dominated meetings between the two sides.

The most famous and important victory for Bangladesh came in the 2007 World Cup when they shocked India and facilitated the latter's ouster from the tournament.

The rivalry became serious during the 2015 World Cup with Bangladesh crying foul at some 'controversial' umpiring decisions during their loss to India in the quarter-finals.

Things took a nasty turn after Bangladesh’s 2-1 ODI series victory at home against India in 2015 when a local newspaper printed a photo of the Indian batsmen with their heads half-shaved to show the effects of pacer Mustafizur Rahman’s cutters. There were reports of Indian superfan Sudhir Gautam being attacked at Mirpur during that series.

The Bangladeshi fans were then given a bad name again as a section of them chose to photoshop an image of bowler Taskin Ahmed holding the 'severed' head of India captain MS Dhoni ahead of the 2016 Asia Cup final in Bangladesh. The photo went viral on social media and caused considerable bad blood between the fans of the two countries. The move backfired spectacularly for Bangladesh as India romped home to an eight-wicket victory to win the Asia Cup.

The two sides met again in the group stages of the 2016 World T20 which India won by just one run. That match at Bengaluru would be remembered for Bangladesh's spectacular collapse with three balls to go and two runs to win. It will also be remembered for Dhoni's stunning run out of Mustafizur off the last ball.

India go into the semi-final clash in this year's Champions Trophy as favourites, but if their 'noisy' neighbours aspire to get into their first final of an ICC event, they will be relying on these five key players:

Tamim Iqbal

Britain Cricket - England v Bangladesh - 2017 ICC Champions Trophy Group A - The Oval - 1/6/17 Bangladesh's Tamim Iqbal celebrates his century Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. - RTX38J0S

Will Tamim Iqbal add to his tally of centuries in this tournament? Reuters

Bangladesh’s leading run scorer in ODIs with 5,673 runs, Tamim Iqbal is among the greatest batsmen to play for the 'Tigers'. He is Bangladesh’s top scorer in this tournament with 223 runs with scores of 128 and 95 against England and Australia respectively. On his day, the southpaw can decimate any bowling attack and Bangladeshi fans will be looking at their star opener to lead the attack against the mighty Indians on Thursday.

Shakib Al Hasan

FILE - In this Thursday, April 6, 2017 file photo, Bangladeshi batsman Shakib Al Hasan watches the field during the second Twenty20 cricket match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Colombo, Sri Lanka. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena, File)

Will Shakib Al Hasan justify his ranking as the world's No 1 all-rounder and deliver Bangladesh a place in the final?AP

In Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh have the world’s best all rounder across all formats of the game. The 30-year-old is the most experienced player for the 'Tigers' along with captain Mashrafe Mortaza. His sparkling 114 off 115 balls against New Zealand, under pressure, helped Bangladesh qualify for the semi-finals from a group which also had England and Australia. His experience of playing with and against the Indian players in the Indian Premier League (IPL) will be crucial as Bangladesh look to book a place in their first Champions Trophy final.


Britain Cricket - New Zealand v Bangladesh - 2017 ICC Champions Trophy Group A - Sophia Gardens - June 9, 2017 Bangladesh's Mahmudullah in action Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Couldridge Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. - RTX39VLR

Can Mahmudullah anchor the batting in the final overs of the innings? Reuters

After making his ODI debut in 2007, Mahmudullah has established himself as an integral part of the Bangladesh squad. The 31-year-old is a handy off-spinner and reliable batsman lower down the order. His record-breaking partnership of 224 runs with Shakib in the group stage encounter against New Zealand helped Bangladesh reach the semi-final of the 2017 Champions Trophy. His centuries against England and New Zealand in the 2015 World Cup shows that he has what it takes to deliver on the big stage.

Mustafizur Rahman

Britain Cricket - Australia v Bangladesh - 2017 ICC Champions Trophy Group A - The Oval - June 5, 2017 Bangladesh's Mustafizur Rahman as rain suspends play Action Images via Reuters / Peter Cziborra Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. - RTX395O3

Will Mustafizur Rahman and his famed off-cutters rip through India's batting? Reuters

The left-arm medium pacer burst on to the ODI scene in 2015 with 13 wickets in his debut series when Bangladesh recorded their first ever series victory over India. Rahman became only the second bowler after Zimbabwean Brian Vitori to claim two five-fors in his first two ODIs. The 21-year-old’s off-cutters troubled the Indian batsmen in that series and captain Mortaza will be relying on him to do the job once again.

Taskin Ahmed

Bangladesh's Taskin Ahmed celebrates after taking the wicket of New Zealand's Luke Ronchi during the ICC Champions Trophy, Group A cricket match between New Zealand and Bangladesh, at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, Wales, Friday June 9, 2017. (Nigel French/PA via AP)

Can Taskin Ahmed restrict Virat Kohli and Co to a manageable total? AP

Another bowler to watch out for is the right-arm pacer Taskin Ahmed. He picked 5/28 on his ODI debut against India and has formed a formidable partnership with fellow pacers Mustafizur and Rubel Hossain. In Taskin and Mustafizur, Bangladesh have a potent duo capable of restricting the in-form Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan.

With Pakistan awaiting the winner of the semi-final clash between India and Bangladesh, the 'Tigers' would want these five stars to shine and lead them to their first ICC tournament final.

Published Date: Jun 15, 2017 | Updated Date: Jun 15, 2017

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4493 125
2 South Africa 3395 110
3 England 4097 105
4 Australia 3087 100
5 New Zealand 3114 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 South Africa 5957 119
2 Australia 5505 117
3 India 4579 114
4 England 5645 113
5 New Zealand 5123 111
Rank Team Points Rating
1 New Zealand 1625 125
2 England 1962 123
3 Pakistan 2417 121
4 West Indies 2222 117
5 India 2183 115