Bangladesh v India
R. Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
Match 2, Sri Lanka T20I Tri-Series 2018
Tuesday 6 March; 19:00 local time, 13:30 GMT
Without many of their big guns, India stuttered and stumbled at various stages of their opening game, also the tournament opener, against Sri Lanka, going down by five wickets. Next up, they have Bangladesh in front of them, a team missing their biggest star – Shakib Al Hasan – and coming into the tournament on the back of a mediocre run at home, which culminated in a 2-0 Twenty20 International series defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka.
Against Sri Lanka, India were quickly down to 9/2, with Rohit Sharma (0) and Suresh Raina (1), two of the most experienced batsmen in the team, sent back early. Shikhar Dhawan played a fantastic hand of 90 from just 49 balls, but apart from him, there wasn’t too much of note. Manish Pandey did score 37 in a 95-run stand with Dhawan, but his runs came off 35 balls. Rishabh Pant just couldn’t get going, scoring a run-a-ball 23 not out, while Dinesh Karthik did throw his bat around towards the end, but didn’t get too much time to cause enough damage.
Those are concerns. As is the fact that in the face of Kusal Perera’s deadly assault, the bowling seemed to wilt for a while. On the plus side, Washington Sundar gave a decent account of his skills and Shardul Thakur came back impressively after his first over went for 27 runs. But faced with a below-par total on a batsman-friendly pitch, the effort wasn’t good enough on the day, not against the rampaging Perera.
“The execution was not up to the mark but we can learn from our mistakes,” said Rohit Sharma, the captain of the Indian side in Virat Kohli’s absence, of his bowlers. And on the batsmen, he said, “We could have accelerated a little more towards the end.”
That sums it up well – the bowling attack is not the most experienced, and did as well as they could. But the bowlers need to pull their socks up, with Yuzvendra Chahal, the leader of the pack, taking on a bit more responsibility. While the batsmen must do better than the 24 runs the scored in the last three overs of the first game. That said, it was a good effort – led by Dhawan – to lift the team up from the poor start and that’s something the Indians will draw confidence from.
Bangladesh, meanwhile, are a dangerous side, and have the personnel – despite Shakib’s absence – to push the best on their day. The senior batsmen – Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah – must take the lead. But even if they have off days, in Soumya Sarkar and Sabbir Rahman, there is quite a bit of class in the ranks.
In the bowling too, Bangladesh have good firepower in the form of Mustafizur Rahman, who might not be as lethal as he was before his shoulder surgery in 2016 but is still one of the most feared names in the game. Him aside, there’s Rubel Hossain and Taskin Ahmed among the fast men, while Bangladesh have their traditional strength – spin – well manned too with Mehidy Hasan and Nazmul Islam.
It’s a strong-looking outfit that will back their chances of bouncing back after a lean run, which has coincided with Chandika Hathurusingha’s departure as the team coach – he is now helming Sri Lanka’s revival – and Shakib’s absence for one reason or another. India, on the other hand, will look to get all the cogs in their wheel running smoothly and in tandem to get among the points.
Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh): He is Bangladesh’s premier batsman for a reason, even if T20 isn’t quite his favourite form of the game. He has got starts but been unable to build on them in recent times, scoring 18, 23, 14 and 29 in his last four T20I appearances, but he has the class and the ability to take the game away from the opposition, which his team will be hoping for from him in Shakib’s absence.
Yuzvendra Chahal (India): It’s an inexperienced Indian bowling attack, and Chahal, the leg-spinner, is the frontman of the unit after 23 one-day internationals and 17 Twenty20 Internationals. He picked up a couple of wickets in the first game, but has to do more if one or more of the other bowlers have a bad day.
The pitch for the first game was a good one for batting, and both Dhawan and Perera cashed in. If it’s similar come the second match day, there should be a lot of runs, but rain has been forecast for Thursday, which might have an effect.
Bangladesh: Mahmudullah (c), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Sabbir Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Abu Hider, Abu Jayed, Ariful Haque, Nazmul Islam, Nurul Hasan, Mehidy Hasan, Liton Das
India: Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Rishabh Pant (wk), Vijay Shankar, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohammed Siraj