India wants to avoid Pakistan in the semis and this was probably achieved by beating Bangladesh
Even as the Indian wickets fell rapidly, there was no smiling or exuberant display by the Bangladeshi players. Mustafiz took three wickets in an over, yet seemed downcast. Shakib took a catch but nobody celebrated. Never seen Bangladeshi players respond this way. Did it mean they knew a 300+ chase was too tough for them on this pitch? Fizz took 4 wickets and ran one out.
Bangladesh’s chances of winning according to Cricinfo predictor was 35%. It took the pitch, Bangladeshi batsmen and Indian bowlers into account, and was proven right. Shakib’s 66 and Saifuddin’s fighting 51* (not out) were the only strong efforts, but the rest were average or even less, falling 28 runs short in the 48th over. It is not just Rohit (144) and Rahul (66) who took the score up, but the bowlers who made the score ultimately impossible to chase. Bangladesh lost to a much better team and probably one of the two finalists.
All Indian objectives achieved
That of course does not lessen the pain of such a defeat. Everyone who hoped for a dramatic upset are now very upset. Some had faith in the Pakistani propaganda that India was going to lose to Bangladesh to ensure that Pakistan does not reach the semis. With their semi qualification dicey and depending on how the England-New Zealand match pans out, Pakistan’s anxiety is understandable, but Bangladesh fans did not have to swallow it, please.
India wants to avoid Pakistan in the semis and this was probably achieved by beating Bangladesh. With just one loss to England, they will be at number 2, below Australia. That means it will play the third semi-finalist which most probably is New Zealand. The fourth will be taking on Australia and it could be Pakistan or England. So India has achieved all of its targets. If India has face Pakistan at all, it will not be before the finals. Today’s win ensured both entry and spot. So why should they have lost to Bangladesh?
Crunch match against Pakistan
Bangladeshis are feeling bad because they “believed”, rather than thought – a national ailment. Media hype contributed as well. Mashrafe also added to it by saying that was the “big do or die game.” But it actually was not.
Victory would not have enabled Bangladesh a spot in the semis. They would still have to beat Pakistan even if they won. Both would then have 9 points. Now if Bangladesh beats Pakistan, they will also both have 9 points. However, many other factors will come in including England’s situation, NRR (net run rate) etc. So clearly, this was not the crunch match for Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has done well by beating South Africa, West Indies, Afghanistan but lost to England, India, and Australia. It did not lose to a team which ranked below them, so there is much to cheer. But beating Pakistan will be a happy farewell to the Cricket World Cup 2019 campaign indeed.