India vs Bangladesh: Preview and Prediction
The 2023 edition of Asia Cup is inching towards its final showdown as we are now set to witness the last fixture of the Super Four stage where the table-toppers India will face a Bangladesh side aiming to end their continental campaign on a triumphant note.
This forthcoming high-profile clash between two Asian white-ball giants is scheduled to take place on Friday at Colombo’s R. Premadasa Stadium which will also host the Grand Finale two days later.
As the game holds no impact on the trophy race and the Men in Blues will be getting only one day’s rest prior to finals, the Indian team management is likely to rest a few of their key players.
Shreyas Iyer who got ruled out of India’s previous two fixtures due to back spasm is expected to be fit for this game. Meanwhile, the veteran speedster Mohammad Shami may replace Jasprit Bumrah in order to keep the MI pacer fit for the doomsday clash.
The Tigers’ head coach Chandika Hathurusingha had earlier declared that there would be no team practice during a three-day break from the 10th to the 13th of September. The two Bangla stars, Shakib Al Hassan and Mushfiqur Rahim left the roster and returned to Dhaka owing to family reasons and are expected to rejoin the camp before the practice resumes.
What have they done so far?
The Tigers’ campaign in the Super Four stage has not fared up to the heavy expectations of the Bangladeshi fans as the Asian combatants are eventually eliminated from the final race. The hopes of questing the maiden continental glory are diminished for the skipper Shakib Al Hassan’s men boy after losing the first two clashes of the Super Four stage.
A thumping 89-run triumph over Afghanistan in the group fixture which secured their Super Four qualification remains the only winning outcome for Bangladesh in this edition and the Tigers would be hoping for a positive result before they host New Zealand in a 3-match ODI series set to begin on September 21.
On the other hand, India is heading towards their final Super Four encounter as the only unbeaten side of the tournament. The Men in Blues’ emphatic 228-run win over the arch-rivals Pakistan in the Super Four Stage was followed by a successful defense of 213 runs against Sri Lanka.
The seven-time Asian champions who couldn’t get a complete 100-over game in the group stages, have now graced the battlefield of R. Premadasa Stadium for three consecutive days and would be looking ahead to the breather before taking the field against Bangladesh.
The rise of Bangladesh in the 50-over international cricket has also marked an ignited enmity with their neighborhood counterparts who hold the honor of being the most decorated Asian nation.
Despite a strong fightback from the Green and Reds, India has always been dominant in this rivalry. The Men in Blues are leading the head-to-head record with a whopping tally of 31 wins from 39 encounters while the Bangla Tigers have emerged victorious only on seven occasions to date.
When the last time the Asia Cup was held in the ODI format, we saw these two nations squaring off against each other in the final of the 2018 edition. It was a memorable encounter played at Dubai International Cricket Stadium where the spectators experienced thrill until the 600th delivery of the match. Kedar Jadhav’s late heroics despite a hamstring injury guided India to successfully chase down the target of 223 runs and lift their seventh continental trophy.
The most recent face-off between these two neighboring rivals took place in December 2022 when India toured the Land of Bengal to play a three-match bilateral saga. The spirited Bangla forces stunned the mighty Blues by winning the first two games and registered a series win over the two-time world champions after seven years. India staged a comeback in the third dead-rubber fixture to avoid the clean sweep as the pocket-dynamite Ishan Kishan made global headlines by smashing the fastest double-hundred in only 126 balls.
Rohit Sharma: The 36-year-old Indian skipper is currently leading the run-scoring charts having fetched 194 runs at an average of 64.66. In his most recent appearance against Sri Lanka, he recently crossed the individual milestone of 10,000 runs in ODI cricket.
Despite stretching out to the landmark of a half-century thrice, Rohit is yet to score his first century in this tournament and will be eyeing to achieve it in the last two innings before wrap-up.
Taskin Ahmed: Titan Taskin will be tasked by the Bangladeshi captain to stop the star-studded Indian top-order which is running a rampage against pacers in this ongoing competition. Ahmed has jointly held the honor of highest wicket-taker after scalping nine wickets from four innings.
The 28-year-old Dhaka speedster played a pivotal role in the triumph over Afghans with bowling figures of 4 for 44 in 8.3 overs and will be acting as a key to success for the Green and Reds.
India: Rohit Sharma ©, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan (wk), Tilak Varma, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mohammad Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammad Siraj
Bangladesh: Mohammad Naim, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Litton Das, Shakib Al Hasan ©, Towhid Hridoy, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Shamim Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Hasan Mahmud, Nasum Ahmed
It is quite evident that India will be gracing the battlefield as the favorite to win this contest, especially after thrashing the two title contenders in two consecutive days. In order to aim for the first Super Four win, Bangladesh must follow the pathway of Sri Lanka which remains the only team to pull off a strong resurgence against the Men in Blue.
If the Green and Reds win the toss, Captain Shakib is likely to opt for batting first after taking the opposition’s recent two successful target-defense into consideration.