India and Bangladesh are all set to play each other for a second time in the Nidahas Trophy. India overpowered a hapless Bangladesh the last time, even while making several errors along the way. Both teams will be high on confidence due to their recent victories against the same team. Bangladesh successfully chased a score over 200, while India chased 153.
Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are very similar teams in that they have a volatile batting lineup and a weak bowling attack. Since the start, India has been the one with a better balance to their squad. Will they defeat the Bangladeshis once again, or will Bangladesh once again throw the tournament wide open?
Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Vijay Shankar, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohammed Siraj, Rishabh Pant
Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim, Sabbir Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Abu Jayed, Taskin Ahmed, Imrul Kayes, Nurul Hasan, Mehidy Hasan, Ariful Haque, Nazmul Islam, Abu Hider Rony, Liton Das, Mahmudullah (c)
Where the teams stand
Bowling first seems to suit India. They have won both the matches where they have fielded first, chasing low targets after restricting their oppositions to scores of 140-150 odd. Against Sri Lanka, they did without a significant contribution from Shikhar Dhawan, instead relying on their middle order to win. Pandey and Karthik did not disappoint as they took their team home. The former has been exceptionally consistent so far. If Raina is not being played at his usual number three spot, sending him at number three instead of Pant or Rahul could be fruitful for India. Karthik is ever-reliable at number 6, but Raina needs to go beyond the twenties and get a big score in. Sharma has also failed to hit his stride in the opening slot whereas Dhawan, despite his big scores, is not the most reliable batsman in the world.
The bowling is India’s trump card against both, Bangladesh as well as Sri Lanka. Both the other teams have a weak bowling lineup, surpassed by an attack far form full strength for India. Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar were brilliant against Sri Lanka, picking up four and two wickets respectively with very healthy economies. Unadkat was expensive, as he has been throughout. Chahal and Vijay Shankar have performed well, chipping in with wickets without conceding too many. Overall, India’s chances of winning depend heavily on how their bowling attack performs. The batting has been shaky and inconsistent, and their ability to chase down a big total is questionable.
While India will be relying on their bowling, Bangladesh’s explosive batting lineup will be their trump card. The likes of Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim, and Liton Das can be either very disappointing, or an absolute treat to watch. It took some fairly poor bowling to assist them in their 200+ run chase, but the batsmen can certainly hit the ball. If India’s bowling fails to hit the right lengths, the Bangladesh’s might just have a fighting chance of winning. If they win this one, their next game becomes a must-win for Sri Lanka. However, if they lose, then whoever wins the next game will go through. There is a lot at stake for them, but can that galvanize them to perform?
Mustafizur is Bangladesh’s singular hope when it comes to their bowling. All their other bowlers have been pretty ordinary in the series so far. Even Rahman has not been excellent, but he is the one with the most potential. Rubel Hossain is another bowler to keep an eye out for, but besides that, the Bangladesh bowling is as ordinary as it gets. India will definitely exploit this weakness, and Bangladesh need to be prepared to chase a big score, or to put up one. A lot will rest on luck for them on matchday, an unfortunate predicament against a team like India
India win. They have won their last two games, and their squad looks far superior to the Bangladeshis’. If they bowl well, they are pretty much guaranteed a victory.