"India are the favorites, they came here to win the World Cup. We are not favorites, we didn't come here to win the WC. We know it very well that if we win against India, it will be called an upset,” said a completely honest Shakib Al Hasan before the clash against India.
Now, if you are in the Bangladesh dugout, this is far away from what you would want to hear before a big clash. Bangladesh have previously beaten India, and have also come agonizingly close to beating them in the 2016 T20 World Cup in Bangalore. They do definitely have it in them to beat this Indian side.
Or at least those are the words that could have given them more confidence heading into this contest. India walk into this contest after some jittery moments against South Africa. Ideally, they would have wanted to close out that game against the Proteas and walk into this one without much pressure.
Talking about pressure, there is KL Rahul, who has come under severe criticism following yet against underpar performance the other night. But India’s head coach Rahul Dravid had none of that, by stating that the management is pretty happy with the way the right-hander batted against Australia in the warm-up game and Rahul has perfect game to suit the Aussie conditions.
The expectations from this clash would have been muted if it was any other year but this time around, it has its weight in gold. Both teams are locked in at four points, but only one place is there in the group as it stands.
India’s bowling vs Bangladesh’s batting
Coming into this edition of the T20 World Cup, the weaker suit for India was definitely their bowling. It was under the weather, there was concerns over whether they could really stand up against teams in the absence of Jasprit Bumrah. Three games into the tournament, we know the answer. India’s bowling is well and truly alive, with the best bowling unit in the entire competition in the powerplay. It might come as a shocker but India’s economy rate is 4.6 with the ball, averaging just 11.9, with seven wickets.
On the other hand, Bangladesh have a batting unit which hasn’t quite lit the tournament up. Across their three innings, the Tigers have lost 12 wickets, with a strike-rate of just 116.7, in the powerplay phase. Across all phases in fact, the Asian side have a run-rate of just 7, which is terrible. While they haven’t been forced into going big against the likes of Netherlands and Zimbabwe, it was what cost Bangladesh big time against South Africa.
In Sydney, a wicket that is more home to the Tigers, they put on a dismal show with the bat, getting all-out for just 101. That is perhaps the game that has cost them valuable up on the net run-rate.
What does India do with Deepak Hooda?
Deepak Hooda has already made a T20 World Cup appearance. But his role in the Indian setup is still a big WHAT? Because if we saw anything from the South Africa encounter, he was picked purely as a batter. Even with the favourable match-up in India’s side against Quinton de Kock, India decided not to, making it baffling. So, really what is Hooda’s role in this setup?
The all-rounder’s best numbers over 2022 comes at No.3. At No.3, the right-hander has scored 350 runs, averages 43.75, with a strike-rate of 150, with a high score of 104. That’s the best place for Hooda but in this Indian setup, with Virat Kohli in there, is it even possible to play him at his best position?
So, in all probability India could back to Axar Patel against Bangladesh, given that the Asian side have not been at their best against left-arm spinners. Thus far in the tournament, Bangladesh have only scored 45 runs off 48 balls against left-arm spinners, losing three wickets.
India need to be wary of the Taskin threat
Taskin Ahmed has been the pick of the tournament in terms of all the pacers. Arshdeep, Nortje and Curran have had an impact but Taskin has done the heavy lifting for Bangladesh thus far in the tournament. India are another side who haven’t quite got a great run at the top of the order, with KL Rahul in a messy situation.
With eight wickets in the tournament thus far, Taskin is a beast for Bangladesh. India’s numbers in the powerplay against pace has been a concern. Against pace, India average just 15.7 in the Super 12 stage, with a run-rate of 5.5.
Indian openers have batted 10.5 overs of pace this tournament, and have only scored runs at 5.2 RPO, showing how vulnerable they are against pace. It is a very good opportunity for Taskin to show his worth on the world stage.
Bangladesh have started the tournament strong, with two wins, and just one loss. Against India, they have an opportunity to spring a huge surprise, and for that very reason, they will go unchanged.
Bangladesh XI: Najmul Hossain Shanto, Soumya Sarkar, Litton Das, Shakib Al Hasan (c), Afif Hossain, Yasir Ali, Mosaddek Hossain, Nurul Hasan (wk), Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud, Taskin Ahmed
There is a slight concern over Dinesh Karthik’s shape for the next game. Barring that, will India still persist with Deepak Hooda, considering how the left-arm spin of Axar Patel could be more useful against Bangladesh.
India XI: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Dinesh Karthik (wk)/Rishabh Pant, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh