Bangladesh's rare opportunity to hit back in one-sided rivalry
This new-age rivalry between India and Bangladesh has had its moments in recent years. But more often than not, it is India who have managed to come out on top much to Bangladesh's annoyance. Having come up painstakingly short on more than one occasion, the visitors now smell a rare chance for a series win. The fact that they are in this position despite the absence of their two premier players is truly commendable.
Bangladesh haven't had a lot to cheer about against India in their history. A stunning win in the 2007 World Cup, becoming party-poopers during Sachin Tendulkar's historic 100th century and a triumph in the 2015 bilateral series at home are probably the most famous moments that stand out. But the clash on Thursday (November 7) presents them a glorious opportunity to add one more feather to their cap - provided the forecast remains clear, reports cricbuzz.
Four years ago, their win saw the emergence of 20-year-old Mustafizur Rahman who is already the country's most successful left-arm seamer. Will the series in 2019 see another 20-year-old emerge and stamp his authority? Known for their tweakers, Bangladesh have never had a wrist-spinner see enough success to command a regular place in the XI. But Aminul Islam, playing just his second game, was impressive in Delhi and will want to make an impact once again.
In the batting department, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah were able to banish the ghosts of 2016 Bangalore to an extent with their finishing act, but the visitors will need their top order to fire on a surface that is expected to be a lot better for batting. If the stars align once again, not only will they be able to clinch the series, but also gatecrash Rohit Sharma's party. The stand-in Indian skipper is all set to play his 100th T20I and he will be eager to pull one back by leading from the front in a format he has mastered over the years.
Rohit's opening partner, Shikhar Dhawan, will be under a bit of pressure though to get the team off to a flier. India's conservative approach at the start of the innings have come under criticism of late in T20 cricket and it will be interesting to see if both Rohit and Shikhar start taking the initiative right from the word go. A strong batting performance will certainly put Bangladesh under pressure considering their woes in the format despite the Delhi win. Two days prior to the game, Yuzvendra Chahal pointed out how India are under no pressure after going 0-1 down in the series but good luck explaining that to a passionate fan base that never wants to give up its bragging rights against their most recent rivals.
When:November 7, Thursday, 7 PM local time
Where:Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot
What to expect:Cyclone Maha might have a huge say in the outcome of this encounter. Rain is expected on the match day and in case it's washed out, that would put more pressure on India. The surface is certainly expected to be a lot better than the one in Delhi where run-making wasn't easy.
India:Rohit Sharma, in his pre-match press conference, promised a change in approach in case they get a better pitch, but a change in personnel is unlikely. India would ideally want to stick to the same XI and give them another opportunity to turn things around.
Probable XI:Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (w), Krunal Pandya, Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Deepak Chahar, K Khaleel Ahmed
The visitors too wouldn't want to change a winning combination.
Probable XI: Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Naim, Mushfiqur Rahim (w), Mahmudullah (c), Afif Hossain, Mosaddek Hossain, Aminul Islam, Shafiul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Al-Amin Hossain
Did you know?
- Bangladesh have beaten India in a bilateral series only once until now. The victory came in the ODI format at home in 2015 when they won the first two games before India won the dead rubber.
- Rohit Sharma will become the first Indian player to play 100 T20Is. Veteran Pakistan allrounder Shoaib Malik is the only other player to feature in more than 100 games in the format.
What they said:
"We want our bench strength to be as strong as possible. This is probably the reason why you see so many new guys coming into the fray and playing." - Indian captain Rohit Sharma on the new faces in the Indian T20I side
"I think it is a great-great opportunity especially when you have already won the first game in the series. I think the boys are feeling energetic about it and hopefully we can put up a good show tomorrow." - Bangladesh skipper Mahmudullah on the prospect of clinching the series