India likely to test bench strength
Match factsSaturday, June 28, 2008
Start time 16.00 (local), 10.00 (GMT)
Big PictureSince beating India and South Africa in the 2007 World Cup, Bangladesh have failed to carry the momentum forward and have lost to every major opposition in one-dayers. India, on the other hand, used their World Cup exit to get their act together, winning more than they have lost, and reversed their fortunes with a CB Series victory earlier this year.
In the Asia Cup so far, Bangladesh beat UAE comfortably but lost to Sri Lanka by a huge margin while India won both their matches - against Hong Kong and Pakistan - convincingly. Now that minnows UAE and Hong Kong have made their exits, Bangladesh need to win against at least one of the stronger sides if they are to have any hope of reaching the final. With India and Sri Lanka carrying forward two points each from the league stage, Bangladesh and Pakistan already have some catching up to do.
Form guide(Last 5 completed ODIs; most recent first)
Watch out for ...India's openers - Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag - who have been in top form since the IPL. The two average 51.93 from 15 innings in which they have opened together.
Raqibul Hasan, the 20-year old batsman, scored a half-century against India in the Kitply Cup and Bangladesh will hope he can repeat his performance against them in the Asia Cup as well.
Team newsGary Kirsten, the India coach, said players on the bench would be given chances to perform and since India have two bonus points from the group stage, they may give Manpreet Gony a chance over Ishant Sharma in this game. Gony went wicketless against Hong Kong in the only international he has played. Pragyan Ojha, who was also in the squad for the Kitply Cup, could get a turn in place of Piyush Chawla. Though Rohit Sharma is yet to fire, he is likely to keep his place since Irfan Pathan is still recovering from his side strain.
India 1 Gautam Gambhir, 2 Virender Sehwag, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt & wk), 6 Rohit Sharma, 7 Yusuf Pathan 8 Praveen Kumar, 9 Pragyan Ojha, 10 RP Singh, 11 Manpreet Gony.
All the Bangladesh bowlers leaked runs against Sri Lanka even though most of them got a wicket for their efforts. Mohammad Ashraful has shuffled around with the batting order - bringing Mushfiqur Rahim up to No. 5 from No. 8 in the match against Sri Lanka - but retained the same XI for the two games. However the 131-run defeat to Sri Lanka may prompt Ashraful to drop Shahadat Hossain, who went for 62 runs in seven overs, for medium-pacer Farhad Reza. Hossain has taken only seven wickets in seven games this year at an average of 49.14.
Bangladesh 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Nazimuddin, 3 Mohammad Ashraful (capt), 4 Raqibul Hasan, 5 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 6 Alok Kapali, 7 Mahmudullah, 8 Mashrafe Mortaza, 9 Abdur Razzak, 10 Dolar Mahmud, 11 Farhad Reza.
Stats and trivia
Quotes"Cricket is a cruel game and you can't afford to relax any day. We are here like the others to try to win this tournament as it is a big one from the Asian point of view."
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Indian captain, is focussed on the prize
"We are actually thinking of how we can bring our best game tomorrow rather than dwelling on what Indian batsman can do. We are more focused on following the team rule in batting and getting the bowlers to correct the mistakes they made in Lahore."
Mohammad Ashraful wants his team to stick to the game plan.
Nishi Narayanan is a staff writer at Cricinfo