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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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.