Dhaka Tribune Correspondent Minhaz Uddin Khan reports from Colombo
When Bangladesh take on India in the second phase of the Nidahas T20I tri-nation series at R Premdasa Cricket Stadium in Colombo Wednesday, the affair will be expected to be a battle of momentum and confidence.
India are coming into the game with the momentum of having won two of the three matches played in the series. Bangladesh, in the meantime, are boosted with recovering lost confidence following a historic, nail-biting win over host Sri Lanka last weekend.
Bangladesh had come into the series looking for that one win that would bring back the confidence and the lost glory after a series of defeats in the past couple of months. And the ambition was met in style through the record win against the Lankans.
In the two games played, Bangladesh however, have missed out on combined effort. In the first match of the series, the Tigers had lost to India following a batting failure while in the second, the bowlers had let the side down.
The Bangladesh batsmen though came to the rescue against Sri Lanka, chasing down a record 215 runs – the fourth highest successful chase in the history of T20Is, and the team’s best score till date in the format.
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With the next World T20 scheduled to be held in two years’ time, Bangladesh have already started the process of finding the right team combination.
The Tigers have labeled themselves as a team without the luxury of T20I specialists, despite playing the game since 2006. With that said, they cannot be a team which just participate. The theory is simple – do not depend on a few batsmen but contribute as a team when the situation arises. And the same goes for the bowlers – get the team wickets through combined effort.
The India game should be an occasion for the Tigers to execute their plans against a team Bangladesh are yet to beat in the T20I format. Till date, Bangladesh have played India six times in the shortest format. Their batsmen in the shape of Mushfiqur Rahim, Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das and Soumya Sarkar should be confident, having done a brilliant job in the previous match but the bowlers will need to come regrouped. The pacers were horrendous against Sri Lanka and were the chief reason behind the opponent putting on a massive score.
In contrast, India are relaxed with two wins in the series – the last coming in a hard-fought victory against Sri Lanka Monday evening. Their batsmen are among the runs and contributing regularly to the team but stand-in captain-cum-opener Rohit Sharma is yet to fire from all cylinders. The right-handed batsman has failed to perform his role of leading from the front, scoring only 28 runs in the first three matches. He will be looking to return to scoring ways through the Bangladesh game.
The bowlers have given India enough confidence in the series so far with spinners Washington Sundar and Yuzvendra Chahal doing their part.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Bangladesh will expect Mustafizur to step up to the occasion against India. The hope comes from the Bangladesh left-arm pacer’s consistency against the Indians in the limited-over formats. Mustafizur made a flying international debut in 2015, which had come against the same opponent. The Fizz, who is a regular in the Indian Premier League T20 for the past three years, till date have faced India seven times – all in limited-over formats – and picked up 16 wickets in seven innings. In his last T20I against India, last week in the first phase of the Nidahas T20I tri-nation series, Mustafizur bagged one wicket conceding 31 runs.
India stand-in T20I captain Rohit has failed to lead from the front so far in the series. The right-handed opener managed only 28 runs in the three matches played so far and is perhaps due to score significant runs. Having won two matches, India are close to confirming a berth in the final and Rohit will be expected to make a difference for the team on the occasion, based on his records. Bangladesh have been Rohit’s favourite team in the limited-overs. With 211 runs in six innings and a strike rate of 135.25, Rohit has scored the most for India against Bangladesh in T20Is.
Head to head
T20Is played – 6
Wins – India 6, Bangladesh 0
Win % – India 100, Bangladesh 0
Most runs – Rohit Sharma (India, 211), Sabbir Rahman (Bangladesh, 132)
HS – Rohit (83), Anamul Haque (Bangladesh, 44)
Most wickets – Ravichandran Ashwin (India, 6), Al Amin Hossain (Bangladesh, 7)
BBI – Pragyan Ojha (India, 4/21), Al Amin (3/37)