Matches against Bangladesh in different formats are always like a proverbial banana peel where slip remains a possibility, but India will certainly start favorites in their penultimate Super 12 match.
The rude shock the famous Indian batting line-up received on the fastest tracks in Perth would have made the coaching staff, especially coach Rahul Dravid, think a few points.
The 22 runs in three matches with flop performances against big teams like Pakistan and South Africa again raised questions about KL Rahul’s big match temperament and technique against quality attacks.
However, KL Rahul may continue as the opener as Dravid has unwavering faith in the fellow Bengaluru player’s ability.
Bangladesh, not the most decorated of T20 teams in this competition due to their mediocre bowling attack, might be just the ideal opposition for Rahul to find some form.
The attack that Mustafizur Rahaman, Taskin AhmedMehidy Hasan Miraj, captain Shakib al Hasan and Hasan Mahmud are decent but certainly not world class by any standards.
Suryakumar Yadav and Virat Kohli have already played brilliant knocks while Rohit Sharma looked good in his fifty against Netherlands.
However, Pant’s exclusion from the playing eleven is quite baffling as he and Suryakumar Yadav bring that x-factor to the batting line-up.
Dinesh Karthik‘s back spasm issue might just be a blessing in disguise for the Indian team. This could possibly provide the opportunity for Pant’s inclusion in the playing eleven for the Bangladesh match.
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Bangladesh have four left-handers in their batting line-up, including captain Shakib, openers Soumya Sarkar and Najmul Hossain Shanto and middle-order batsman Afif Hossain Dhrubo and it will be interesting to see if India continue with Ravichandran Ashwin, who was bowled by David Miller in the previous match, or play Axar Patel.
India’s attack may not struggle much in dealing with Bangladesh as the troika of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh and Mohammed Shami hold a clear edge over opponents’ batting line-up.
A few numbers will confirm how Bangladesh’s batsmen have struggled in this tournament. Out of the two matches they won, one was a thriller against Zimbabwe while they played a draw against the Netherlands.
Despite the faces of minnows, Shakib’s batsmen struggled on bowler-friendly Australian pitches.
After three matches, opener Shanto is the only batsman who has accumulated more than 100 runs and that too at a strike rate of 125 which is not at all commendable for an opener.
The second highest run getter is Afif, the middle-order enforcer. Much will depend on how Afif and Mosaddek Hossain bat towards the back, but against an Indian attack of this quality they will be under pressure.
The team that chooses to bowl first may make the most of the famous Adelaide twilight when the ball swings a little more than usual.
With three powerful swing bowlers, it would not be a bad idea if Rohit Sharma opts to bowl first and try to restrict Bangladesh to a low score.
For Bangladesh, the sharp dip in their only world-class player Shakib’s form is the reason they are not seen as a threat to quality teams.
Shakib, who has been running with the BCB even during the ongoing World Cup, is not in the best of spirits and the decline in his batting is difficult to gauge.
He is still building a restrictive left-arm spin but the bite is gone and so it can only be meat and drink for the Indian batsmen during their duel with the Bangladesh captain.
In the: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Rishabh Pant (wk), Yuzvendra ChahalR Ashwin, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel, Deepak Hooda
Bangladesh: Shakib al Hasan (captain), Najmul Hossain Shanto, Soumya Sarkar, Afif Hossain, Mosaddek Hossain, Mehidy Hasan Miraj, Shoriful IslamEbadot Hossain, Nurul Hasan, Litton Das, Taskin Ahmed, Hasan Mahmud, Yasser AliNasum Hossain, Mustafizur Rahaman