WT20 : India V Bangladesh World T20 Preview
Mustafizur Rahman will brook careful watching by the host’s top order, which has thus far banked heavily on Virat Kohli. India will believe its recent record against Bangladesh as well as its immediate T20 form should stand it in good stead.
The recent exchanges between India and Bangladesh have been rather intriguing.
India rode on Rohit Sharma’s 137 to post 302 for 6, 109 runs too many for Mashrafe Mortaza’s men, at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. Then, fuelled by Mustafizur Rahman’s sensational entry into the scene, Bangladesh won a three-match One-Day International series on home patch 2-1 to eke out a modicum of revenge. India got its own back at the Asia Cup in Mirpur last month when it crushed Bangladesh in the first league match as well as the final to wind up their preparations for the ICC World Twenty20 2016.
It is against this backdrop that the teams will face off in a Super 10 Group 2 clash at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday (March 23), a match that holds greater significance for India than it does for Bangladesh. Beaten by a mile by Pakistan in Kolkata and less convincingly by Australia on Monday, Bangladesh is all but out of the reckoning for a place in the semi-final; India,pummelled by New Zealand but recovering poise and momentum against Pakistan in Kolkata on Saturday, must wrap up the two points to stay in the hunt.
India will believe its recent record against Bangladesh as well as its immediate T20 form – including the loss to New Zealand, it has won 11 of its last 13 games – should stand it in good stead. But with Mahendra Singh Dhoni and a fair few others having featured in that ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 disaster at Port of Spain, India will by no means take anything for granted.
Bangladesh might not have defeated a Test nation at the ICC World T20 since its upset of West Indies in the inaugural edition in South Africa in 2007, but it is a team perfectly equipped to play party-pooper despite losing the services of Taskin Ahmed and Arafat Sunny, both suspended owing to illegal bowling actions.
Clearly, Bangladesh was rattled by the absence of two key bowling options leading in to the match against Australia at the same venue, and even though it welcomed Mustafizur back from a side strain, there was a further setback in the shape of food poisoning rendering the experienced Tamim Iqbal hors de combat. Even so, Bangladesh pushed a nervy Australia all the way, and could have emerged on the right side of the result if it had been slightly more enterprising with the bat, slightly less tardy on the field or, ideally, both.
With elimination all but confirmed, the sight of a familiar foe could rouse Bangladesh into lifting its game. Mustafizur showed that time away had blunted none of his cutting edge as he mixed up his lengths and pace beautifully, his brilliantly disguised cutters triggering panic in the Australian ranks. India has had more than one taste of the Mustafizur magic, and even though he is no longer the unknown quantity he was this time last year, he will brook careful watching by a top order that has thus far banked heavily – almost exclusively – on the incandescence of Virat Kohli.
Dhoni’s wards have been far from at their best in this tournament to date. On tracks that have taken uninhibited stroke-making out of the equation and asked questions of both temperament and skill, India has struggled with the bat. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, attack-minded as they are, must customise their batting to meet the demands of the situation, because while there is a place for bravado, it cannot be at the expense of common sense and situational awareness. Kohli would, for a change, like to come in on the back of a solid start – the last time he had the luxury of a half-century opening stand was eight innings back – as would Suresh Raina, as much in need of meaningful time in the middle as anyone else.
The two strips used thus far haven’t played true to Chinnaswamy reputation. At a ground that has produced the maximum number of T20 sixes, well in excess of 800, batsmen have struggled to impose themselves with the ball gripping the surface, particularly in the second half of the game. India’s bowling has stood up to the test manfully thus far, and will be quietly confident of an encore. As for Bangladesh, which is playing in India for the first time since a tri-nation tournament in May 1998, it is a question of putting the recent past behind and flexing its not inconsiderable all-round muscle.
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt, wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Ashish Nehra, Jasprit Bumrah, Pawan Negi, Harbhajan Singh, Mohammed Shami, Ajinkya Rahane.
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Sabbir Rahman, Shakib Al Hasan, Shuvagata Hom, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Saqlain Sajib, Mustafizur Rahman, Al-Amin Hossain, Mohammad Mithun, Nurul Hasan, Nasir Hossain, Abu Hider.