Bangladesh face India hurdle in quest for semifinal berth

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01 Jul 2019 | 01:43 PM
authorAvijit Dutta

Bangladesh face India hurdle in quest for semifinal berth

The Tigers are stuck on 7 points and need to win their remaining two games to stay in the race for last four

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What is the main difference between Indian Premier League 2019 and the Cricket World Cup 2019? IPL is a T20 format, while World Cup is a 50-over format. However there is certain parallelism between the two formats when it came down to qualification for the play-offs. 

Australia, the first team to seal a semifinal berth in this World Cup wear the same yellow as Chennai Super Kings and is this irony or co-incidence? CSK were the first team to qualify for IPL play-offs. India can be the Mumbai Indians of IPL at the World Cup. If they beat Bangladesh when the two lock horns on July 2 at Edgbaston, they will be the second team to qualify for the last four with a game to spare, much like Mumbai in India’s premier T20 tournament.  

New Zealand are on 11 points with a game to go and even if they fail to defeat England in their last match they will go through courtesy a better net run-rate. Remember SRH, yes the same team where Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson plays!! Pakistan will turn out to be the Kolkata Knight Riders of IPL, wonder how? Even if Pakistan defeats Bangladesh in their final fixture they won’t qualify as they have a negative NRR. England have to just win against New Zealand but for Bangladesh the road looks tougher. 

Why is India a tough test? 

The Tigers’ batting has come a long way and is on par with teams like Australia, India and New Zealand, but their main concern will be the bowling department -- especially the pace battery.   

In this World Cup, Bangladesh pacers have failed to pick wickets upfront and have allowed partnerships to flourish. As we have seen so far, if you don’t pick wickets upfront teams will hurt you at the back-end of the innings. 

Bangladesh have used the services of Shakib Al Hasan, Mashrafe Mortaza, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mustafizur Rahman and Mehidy Hasan in the first powerplay. But apart from Shakib and Saifuddin, none of the rest have picked a single wicket in the first ten overs. 

Adding to that, Indian openers have generally been circumspect in the first powerplay. They have scored at 3.93 RPO, the worst scoring-rate amongst all teams but this strategy has worked for them as they have quality players to make up for a slow start. Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul haven’t taken undue risks. India’s dismissal rate in the first ten overs is clear testament to that fact. 

Matters become worse in the middle overs. Between overs 11-40 Bangladesh have conceded at 5.78 RPO, the second worst economy rate. The strike rate of the bowlers are on the higher side barring Shakib, who is having a dream run both with bat and ball.

When it comes to death bowling, Bangladesh have always relied on the Mustafizur to provide them with crucial breakthroughs without giving away too many runs. He did the one part of it by picking 7 wickets in 6 matches but conceded at 8.10 runs per over. Mortaza concedes at 13.75 RPO, the worst economy rate for any bowler who has bowled a minimum of 30 balls between overs (41-50). Saifuddin too proved to be tad expensive after giving away 9 runs per over. 

India vulnerable when pacers fail to pick wickets in the first powerplay   

India too are in the firing line especially after their performance against England. In the first ten overs their pacers were unable to pick a single wicket and that proved to be a disaster for them considering there was nothing in the pitch for the spinners. Hence the spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal went for 160 in 20 overs. 

Since 2018, in 39 ODIs, India have lost only four matches after failing to take a wicket in the first ten overs because their wrist spinners would come and take control of the game in the middle. Since 2017, bowling in tandem, Kuldeep and Chahal have taken 56 wickets in 31 matches. 

Leading to the World Cup, Kuldeep was the highest wicket-taker after amassing 55 wickets in 36 innings. In this World Cup though he could scalp only five wickets in six innings at a high strike rate of 67 balls per wicket. 

Bangladesh have quality players who can tackle the wrist spin duo. They have the third best scoring rate (5.69) after England (6.7) and Australia (5.9) against spinners in this World Cup. The top 7 are fast starters against spin with strike-rate of above 80. Wicket-keeper batsmen, Mushfiqur Rahim leading the charts with a strike rate of 102 and average of 146 against spinners.   

In the batting department both the teams are dependent on their top order. Since 2018, India’s top 3 have been doing the bulk of scoring but the injury to Shikhar Dhawan meant the burden of scoring has been on Rohit and Virat Kohli. In CWC 2019, both are leading the run charts for India.
Rahul has been good in patches. In most of the matches he played out the new ball, got starts, but failed to convert them into big scores.   

For Bangladesh, Tamim Iqbal has not fired in this tournament. Here is a stat to consider: since 2015 WC, whenever Tamim has scored 50 + runs Bangladesh win 70% of their matches.   

Having said that, Shakib is having a dream tournament. Since his promotion to number three, he has a batting average of 58 and in this World Cup he has continued with the same tempo after having amassed 476 in 6 matches. He is followed by Mushfiqur, the “pocket dynamo” who has scored 327 runs so far. The duo have scored 60 percent of Bangladesh’s runs since the 2015 World Cup. 

Not only has Shakib’s bat done the talking, but he has produced some magic with the ball in hand as well. In this WC, he has the joint highest wickets (10) for a spinner. 

Over-reliance on Hardik Pandya   

MS Dhoni, once the world’s greatest finisher is struggling to score boundaries at the death. In this World Cup, he and Kedar Jadhav are batting at a strike rate of 88 in the last 20 overs. Dhoni takes too long to get going, which put enormous pressure on Hardik. Hardik has a strike-rate of 141 in the final 20 overs but due to lack of a supporting cast he often gets out in quest of scoring quick runs. 

The conditions will play a huge role. If the India- Bangladesh match is played on the same pitch that England hosted India, we might see a run-fest given the batting arsenals both teams possess. But if the wicket is dry, the spinners will have a good time. But, India’s experienced and quality bowling line-up gives them a slight edge over their eastern neighbours. 

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ICC Cricket World Cup 2019Kuldeep YadavShakib Al Hasan

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