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Can Bangladesh cope with the pressure of back-to-back games?

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Are the teams getting enough rest at the Asia Cup? (1:02)

The Bangladesh and Pakistan captains have complained about scheduling. So how much are they travelling? (1:02)

Big Picture

The Asia Cup began with Sri Lanka playing Bangladesh - a newly kindled rivalry on the back of naagin dances and shattered glass doors. It then had India taking on Pakistan, a rivalry that needs no kindling, dead rubber or not. But possibly none of these two have had quite the needle that India versus Bangladesh does in recent times.

It began with a no-ball in the 2015 World Cup quarter-final, and spilled over to India's tour of Bangladesh later in the year, and peaked in the 2016 World T20 where India's dramatic one-run win against Bangladesh was followed by Mushfiqur Rahim celebrating on social media after West Indies beat India in the semi-final.

However, tempers have cooled since. Bangladesh will be acutely aware that they haven't beaten India across formats since June 2015, when Mustafizur Rahman befuddled India on debut. But despite Tamim Iqbal's injury, the team is viewed differently than it was even in 2015. Wins by Bangladesh, especially in Asia, are no longer upsets, at least not major ones.

Bangladesh's bowlers were superb against Sri Lanka in the tournament opener, but they'll have a bigger challenge against India. India are without Virat Kohli, and with rather more players injured than they had wanted, but their top order continues to be imposing.

With no points carried forward from the league stage, neither team can afford to rest players in the Super Fours. The extreme heat in the UAE will mean there is the temptation to do that, but the teams do not have the luxury to give in. This is particularly harsh on Bangladesh, who played against Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi on Thursday and will have to front up in Dubai on Friday. India showed that playing back-to-back matches even in these conditions was doable, but at least they didn't have to travel to a neighbouring city.

Form guide

India WWLLW (completed matches, most recent first)
Bangladesh LWLWL

In the spotlight

In both matches so far, Rohit Sharma has shown ominous signs. He has looked good, sublime even, before getting out. In his short captaincy career at the international level so far, Rohit has shown that the added responsibility brings out the best in him as a batsman. In the IPL, of course, he has been among the more celebrated captains, with a lot of silverware to show. That Rohit can be destructive as an opener is stating the obvious, but without Kohli in the side, he is also the team's lynchpin. Moreover, his batting position is even more critical in these conditions. The slower bowlers have reigned supreme so far, which means the openers have to make it count against the new ball. So far, Rohit has done that, but hasn't carried on. If he does go deep into the innings, he has the skill to take the pitch and the weather out of the equation.

The history between Mushfiqur Rahim and India is colourful already. But as he has shown in the past, and as recently as the first match of the tournament, he can pack a fair wallop with bat in hand. His century against Sri Lanka was a masterclass, not just because of the quality of strokeplay, but also because of how he shepherded the lower order, including a one-handed Tamim. How Bangladesh fare while batting will rest largely on Mushfiqur's shoulders. He already has a century against India in ODIs, and averages nearly five points more against them than his career average, 38.53 to 33.82.

Team news

The loss of Shardul Thakur and Axar Patel is unlikely to affect India much, in the sense that neither would have been part of a first-choice XI in any case. Hardik Pandya's absence will leave a bit of a hole, and it remains to be seen whom India will turn towards to fill it. Deepak Chahar is his replacement, but Ravindra Jadeja has greater batting pedigree. It will have to be someone who can turn his arm over, though, because otherwise, India will have only four frontline bowlers and Kedar Jadhav, which would leave Rohit with too few options. The omission of KL Rahul from both league matches remains intriguing, and you would think that in the Super Fours, he would be back in the starting XI.

India (possible): 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 KL Rahul, 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 MS Dhoni (wk), 6 Kedar Jadhav, 7 Deepak Chahar/Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal

Bangladesh sensibly rested their key players for their inconsequential league game against Afghanistan, so they will at least have Mushfiqur and Mustafizur fresh and ready for battle. The only spot they will be unsure of is the one vacated by Tamim.

Bangladesh (possible): 1 Liton Das, 2 Mominul Haque, 3 Shakib Al Hasan, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Mohammad Mithun, 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Mosaddek Hossain, 8 Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 9 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 10 Rubel Hossain, 11 Mustafizur Rahman

Pitch and conditions

The temperature in Dubai is forecast as 'very warm' throughout the day. It will feel like 43 degrees in the afternoon, so you'd imagine the side winning the toss will consider batting first, regardless of what the pitch looks like. If there is some grass, it could create a dilemma for the captain winning the toss, since it is likely that under lights, the ball will come on to the bat better. The possibility of dew is also there, which might again help the side batting second.

Stats and trivia

  • India are on a nine-match winning run against Bangladesh across formats, going back three years. That includes one Test, two ODIs and six T20Is.

Quotes

"I don't bowl much at the nets. I feel if I try and become a bowler, I will lose whatever I have. So I stay within limits."
India's batting allrounder Kedar Jadhav

"Even a mad person would be upset. Basically what has happened is that we were made the second team in Group B even before we played the last game. It is frustrating."
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza on the scheduling of the Asia Cup