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On-song Bangladesh eyes 3-0 series win

Mustafizur will be Indian batsmen's biggest threat as Dhoni's side looks to lift game in final ODI

On-song Bangladesh eyes 3-0 series win - Cricket News
Mashrafe Mortaza, the Bangladesh captain, has emphasised the “fearless cricket” his team has played in recent months, but it’s more than just bravado on the field. In the One-Day International series against India, Bangladesh has out-played the opposition to seal the series, book a place in the Champions Trophy 2017 and extend its home run to ten straight ODIs won.

When the two teams square up for the final ODI on Wednesday (June 24) at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Mirpur, India will be keen to avoid what they refer to as a ‘Banglawash’, and salvage pride with a 2-1 margin.

The Indian batsmen have not being able to break free against any of the Bangladesh bowlers, having an especially difficult time trying to decipher a certain 19-year-old’s cutters and slower balls. The Indian bowlers, who took 70 wickets in seven matches en route to the ICC World Cup 2015 semi-final, have been unable to reproduce that level of control. The only one who has held his own is R Ashwin, India’s standout bowler of the tour.

Bangladesh, on the other hand, has played a brand of cricket that has enthralled home audiences, and hunted in a pack. On Tuesday, it added Jubair Hossain to the squad, giving the side more bowling options. However, there is no reason for Bangladesh to make a change in the playing XI, unless conditions have altered drastically in two days.

Mustafizur Rahman’s spectacular debut has ensured that though Bangladesh is fielding a four-man pace attack, it has kept the Indians on the back foot. When asked what the plan was to counter the left-armer, Ashwin joked, “What can we do? Can we kidnap him?” But the fact remains that India need to figure out how to face him.

“We have to come out there and play some good and solid cricket and try and make sure we nullify him. He does bowl a good cutter, which is something we have to watch out for. We have to give him the respect as well,” observed Ashwin.

Nasir Hossain, who picked up 2 for 33 in the second ODI, getting the prize wickets of a well-settled Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli, said that there wasn’t any chance of the team getting complacent. It would be approaching the final match just like any other, and looking to win it just like any other.

“The team isn't thinking about the Banglawash. We just want to play the last match and play for a win,” he said. “We were talking in the dressing room and discussed at one point how we would have felt if we had lost the first two games. We have been told to play the third game keeping that in mind.”

The practice sessions of both sides were affected a little by rain, and while that won’t hamper a team with the winning momentum, it meant possibly lesser time for the Indian team management to decide on the XI they would want on the park.

Three changes were made from the first ODI to the second, with none working particularly well.  Dhawan has got starts in both matches and Ashwin has been threatening, but India need all the men on the field to deliver.

“We’re going into the game looking to win. Yes we’ve lost the series, but we’d like to turn things around in this last game. It’s very important to stay relaxed at this moment,” said Ashwin. “We’ve had a quiet couple of days and I think everybody has reflected on what’s happened and we all know what needs to be done. The mood’s got a little better now.

“Everybody’s good enough, it’s not like we are looking to pick on anybody in the team or outside it like people would like us to do. It’s the end of the season for us so if we can cap it off with a win, it will be good.”

One constant in the series has been the rain, which has interrupted every single playing day of the tour so far, with every chance of doing so on the final match day too.

Teams (from):

Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (capt, wk), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Stuart Binny, Axar Patel, Dhawal Kulkarni.

Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Litton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Shakib Al Hasan, Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Arafat Sunny, Rony Talukdar, Mominul Haque, Jubair Hossain.

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