India look to make up lost ground against depleted Bangladesh


Big Picture

Almost everyone remembers that Bangladesh-India match. World T20, 2016, Bangladesh need two runs from three balls to knock out the hosts. Instead, a senior batsman allows his emotions to get the better of him, and India pounce to claim a heart-stopping one-run victory.

Two years later, Bangladesh players are still asked questions about this match. Have the wounds from that game healed? Will the World T20 clash play on their minds if they find themselves in a similar situation? Perhaps they have the skill, but do they possess the nerve to overcome this opponent?

It does not help that even without some of their most formidable T20 players, India appear the more confident side. Though defeated by the hosts on Tuesday, they have a powerful top order, and a promising attack – even if it is a little short on experience.

Bangladesh have the raw materials in place, but following a poor home series against Sri Lanka, they have come into this series a little bruised. Without Shakib Al Hasan in the top order, they are not producing runs as consistently as they have done over the past two years, and their bowling appears a little light – particularly as Mustafizur Rahman’s efficiency has recently waned.

They do, however, have one thing this India side does not have – a win on Sri Lankan soil, on this trip. A comprehensive victory in their practice match in Colombo on Tuesday will have helped repair some of the damage sustained in their most-recent series. Whether that is sufficient to put them on even terms with India, remains to be seen.

Form guide

BangladeshLLLLW (completed matches, most recent first)

In the spotlight

Shikhar Dhawan came into the tournament with good T20 form, and on Tuesday hit a 49-ball 90 – his highest score in the format. Although he was by far India’s highest scorer, his innings was not without a little luck, however. He was often awkward against the short ball, top edging no fewer than three for six. If he shows a similar vulnerability on Thursday, in Taskin Ahmed and Mustafizur Rahman, Bangladesh do possess the quicks that could exploit it.

If there is anyone who must exorcise the memory of Bangalore, it is Mushfiqur Rahim who had the game in hand, but then celebrated too early, and ushered in Bangladesh’s failure. With Shakib now out of the side, there is also the added pressure of being one of the few senior men left in the middle order. He arrives with a little form behind him, but should India take early wickets, Mushfiqur’s ability to handle the occasion may prove crucial to the outcome.

Team news

Bangladesh could opt for Nurul Hasan ahead of Sabbir Rahman, while Mehidy Hasan could be picked ahead of a seamer, for his batting. Ariful Haque and Soumya Sarkar are seam-bowling options, if they opt for only two frontline pace bowlers.

Bangladesh (possible): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Soumya Sarkar, 3 Liton Das, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Mahmudullah (capt.), 6 Ariful Haque, 7 Nurul Hasan, 8 Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 9 Nazmul Hossain 10 Taskin Ahmed, 11 Mustafizur Rahman

India may think about fielding seamer Mohammed Siraj in place of Shardul Thakur, who was expensive on Monday. Otherwise, they may remain unchanged – though it is also possible that KL Rahul could enter the top order.

India (possible): 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Rohit Sharma (capt.), 3 Suresh Raina, 4 Manish Pandey, 5 Rishabh Pant, 6 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 7 Vijay Shankar, 8 Washington Sundar, 9 Yuzvendra Chahal, 10 Jaydev Unadkat, 11 Mohammed Siraj

Pitch and conditions

A standard Khettarama pitch is expected – half decent for batting, but a little on the slow side. It is possible – but not likely – that an evening thunderstorm will blow through.

Stats and trivia

  • Bangladesh have lost all five T20s they have played against India.

  • India have not lost two T20s in a row since 2016. They have played 19 completed T20s since then.

  • Shikhar Dhawan’s 90 on Tuesday is the second-highest T20 score at Khettarama, after Luke Wright’s 99 not out against Afghanistan in 2012.


“The Bangalore match was over that day. Accidents occur in cricket. There’s no point sitting with it. It is better to learn from it though.”

Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah

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