Dhaka Tribune Correspondent Minhaz Uddin Khan reports from Colombo
Bangladesh will look for a rare T20I win against India when the former kick off their Nidahas T20I tri-nation series campaign at R Premadasa Cricket Stadium in Colombo Thursday.
The Tigers arrived to the island nation backed by a dreadful past at home where they lost six out of nine international matches played between January and February this year. The side, despite a flying start, had lost poorly in the ODI tri-series final, to Sri Lanka, and the poor show continued as they suffered series defeats in the Test matches and T20Is.
Change of venue will perhaps bring freshness in the Bangladesh dressing room that has been without a permanent head coach since Chandika Hathurusingha resigned in November last year to take on the Sri Lanka job. The side have the luxury of knowing the ins and outs well having played Sri Lanka lately but as far as India are concerned – the situation is an unfamiliar one.
The last time Bangladesh had played India in any format was during the 2017 Champions Trophy and in T20Is the year before, during the World T20. However, the Tigers had suffered a heartbreaking one-run defeat in that World T20 game.
Bangladesh in the game needed 11 runs in the last over with Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim in the crease but the fall of three wickets in as many balls denied the Tigers their maiden T20I win against the former world champion.
Also read: Tigers eye first ever win over India
This time however, Bangladesh can cherish and take advantage of the fact that India are missing big-name players. India are also under pressure after losing their first game against Sri Lanka in the tournament opener.
Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya and a few more leading names have been rested following their 50-day long tour of South Africa recently. The charge of a youth-based India side was then put in the hands of Rohit Sharma.
Bangladesh are aware of the youth-based Indian dressing room but are in no mood to let complacency slip into their game. The captain believes that even without their star players, India remain a very experienced side, thanks to the massive IPL exposure they get every year.
Bangladesh have the drawback of not having Shakib al Hasan in the dressing room due to injury but the players should not let that allow the dressing room to get panicked.
As far as the playing XI is concerned, the Tigers are likely to keep it similar to that of their last T20I with the exception of the only changes of Liton Das coming in place of Imrul Kayes and Taskin Ahmed replacing Saifuddin.
Also read: Liton frontrunner for No 3 batting spot
Players to watch
Nazmul Islam Apu
Having played just two internationals – specifically T20Is – in the home series against Sri Lanka last month, Bangladesh left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam has the option of bringing in the surprise factor when his side take on India.
Having made it into the Bangladesh T20I fold as the replacement for the injured Shakib, Nazmul proved his worth and shone brightest among a dull Tigers’ bowling attack during the Sri Lanka series. The 26-year old in the first T20I against the Lankans at home had ended with two scalps for 25 runs on debut. In the second game, the bowler remained wicketless but was economical giving away only 28 runs in his quota of four overs.
The stand-in India captain for the Nidahas series, Rohit failed miserably when they took on host Sri Lanka in the tournament opener Tuesday. The right-handed batsman was the first wicket to fall as he departed without troubling the scorers. Even though India eventually recovered, through a blazing 49-ball 90-run innings by Shikhar Dhawan, the visiting side could not dodge defeat. Rohit can take inspiration from his 83-run knock when his side last played against Bangladesh in the format – during the 2016 World T20. He needs to step up to the occasion Thursday if India are to salvage their first win of the series.
Head to head
T20Is played – 5
Bangladesh win – 0
India wins – 5
Win % – Bangladesh (0), India (100)
Most runs – Sabbir Rahman (Bangladesh, 102), Rohit Sharma (India, 194)
HS – Anamul Haque (Bangladesh, 44), Rohit (83)
Most wickets – Al Amin Hossain (Bangladesh, 7), Ravichandran Ashwin (India, 6)
BBI – Al Amin (3/37), Pragyan Ojha (India, 4/21)