India opener Lokesh Rahul said the quality of cricket which defending champions India have displayed so far in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 should be a worrying factor for Bangladesh ahead of both the team's semi-final clash in Birmingham on Thursday. Subcontinental neighbors India and Bangladesh will square off against other at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground for a place in the final to be played at The Oval on Sunday.
On paper, India are overwhelming favourites against Bangladesh but in a game of glorious uncertainties, it will be foolhardy to count Bangladesh out of equation, especially after their inspirational 'come from behind' victory against New Zealand that paved the way for their semi-final berth.
For India, nothing short of a place in the summit round will satisfy them while Bangladesh are standing at the cusp of what could be the biggest day in their cricketing history, if they manage to pull off a victory.
Speaking exclusively to India TV from Bengaluru, Rahul, who missed out on the flight to Champions Trophy due to a shoulder injury which also kept him out of this year's Indian Premier League, said his teammates will be charged up against Bangladesh.
"Players will be charged up because India vs Bangladesh's small rivalry has intensified. India are the defending champions and in the last three matches which they have played, they have given great performances. I would just like to wish them very best and say that just go out there and do the things which you have been doing," Rahul told India TV.
India defeated Bangladesh in their second warm-up game at the Champions Trophy by a heavy margin of 240 runs and Rahul feels that it would be definitely be there in the minds of the Bangladesh players.
"Bangladesh should fear us. Why would we be afraid of them. We have been playing really well. I am sure the loss in the warm-up game will be definitely be there in the minds of the Bangladesh players. So, I feel Team India has an edge over Bangladesh.
However, at the same time Rahul said that the Indian team never take its opposition lightly.
"But in important games, all these things do not matter and the Indian team never takes any opposition lightly. We don't get complacent and we don't see who we are playing against. We just go out there and play good cricket and try to give our best performance," he said.
When asked to evaluate the Team India's performance in the mega tournament, Rahul said Virat Kohli and Co. have performed well in all the three aspects of the game.
"The bowlers have looked in great form. Bhuvi, Umesh, Jadeja and Bumrah have bowled well. The areas, the line and length they have bowled has been really good. I think the most positive thing for India has been their opening partnership.
"Shikhar and Rohit have given great start to the team. Virat is in great form and he performs better in big games and I am sure the whole team is looking up to him. Both Mahi bhai and Yuvi pa are in great touch too. So, the batting unit looks great form and the bowling too is in great shape. So, I think the Indian team has been top notch in every department of the game - batting, bowling or fielding," he said.