Rattled Bangladesh run into resurgent India
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Start time 1930 local (1400 GMT)
After a thumping loss to New Zealand in their opening game, India found their footing with a Virat Kohli masterclass against Pakistan, and are now eyeing the semi-finals. They will face a Bangladesh side, reeling from two defeats, to add to the absence of Taskin Ahmed and Arafat Sunny.
Bangladesh, however, pushed Australia on Monday right till the finish. The returning Mustafizur Rahman and Shakib Al Hasan led Bangladesh's defence with five wickets between them. Bangladesh, though, will miss Taskin's fire and pace, upfront as well as at the death, against India.
India are now in a position to take advantage of Bangladesh who need to win their remaining matches and rely on other results going their way. Kohli has been the key to India's batting, but they would like to see consistency from Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina. Rohit Sharma, too, needs to step up, having made only 25 in his last three innings, including 10 against South Africa in a warm-up match. India, however, will be buoyed by Yuvraj's resurgence in the middle order.
The bowling, led by R Ashwin, looks in good shape, with Ashish Nehra, Jasprit Bumrah, and Ravindra Jadeja giving support. Nehra has been effective in the Powerplays, while Bumrah has hit the blockhole regularly in the slog overs in addition to bowling well with the new ball.
Bangladesh's batting woes will be compounded if Tamim Iqbal isn't fit to play. Soumya Sarkar has promised much, but seems to be bogged down by a mental block. This means that there will be more responsibility on Sabbir Rahman, Mahmudullah, and Shakib Al Hasan.
(last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
Suresh Raina is a senior figure in the team and has contributed with the ball and on the field, but his batting form has been poor. He hasn't made a 50-plus score in T20 internationals since June 2010.
Shuvagata Hom was rushed to Bangalore as a replacement player, and his performance against Australia reflected the fatigue, which could have been handled better by the team management. He will have to lift his game against India and shoulder the responsibility of giving his side a good finish, and sharpness in the field.
India are unlikely to make any changes. They generally don't change their combination unless there is a pressing need, and MS Dhoni after the Pakistan match, stressed on the need to back players like Raina and Dhawan.
India (probable): 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Suresh Raina, 5 Yuvraj Singh, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Ravindra Jadeja, 9 R Ashwin, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Ashish Nehra
Shuvagata Hom being picked ahead of Nasir Hossain against Australia was surprising, given that the latter has been with the side since the start of the World T20. Tamim Iqbal, who missed the Australia match with food poisoning, is not a certain starter.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal/Mohammad Mithun, 2 Soumya Sarkar, 3 Sabbir Rahman, 4 Shakib Al Hasan, 5 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Nasir Hossain/Shuvagata Hom, 8 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 9 Al-Amin Hossain, 10 Mustafizur Rahman, 11 Saqlain Sajib
Pitch and conditions
Bangalore has experienced sweltering heat recently, with temperatures rising to the high 30s. The pitch played fairly true in the Australia-Bangladesh match - like most Chinnaswamy pitches do - but offered more grip to the slower bowlers than it usually does.
Stats and trivia
- In the four T20Is between them so far, Bangladesh's opening partnership against India has lasted between 2.2 and 4 overs while India has seen their opening partnership stay between 1.3 and 7.2 overs against Bangladesh.
"Taskin Ahmed has been a very important bowler for them, but at the same time Mustafizur Rahman, who did not play 2-3 matches in between because of a side strain, he is back. Al-Amin is there. They have depth in bowling. Shakib Al Hasan is a very good allrounder, so I don't think their bowling is weakened in any way because of one or two players not being there."
India pacer Ashish Nehra on whether Bangladesh were weakened by the absence of Taskin Ahmed
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84