2007 Bangladesh knocked India out of the World Cup. 2011 – India sort of took revenge by defeating Bangladesh in Bangladesh with the help of Virendra Sehwag’s 175 and Virat Kohli’s century. Whose turn it is in 2015? Both these countries have never met in knockout matches of World Cup, so this will be the first instance. In fact, This will be the first appearance of Bangladesh in knockout stage of World Cup.
Both Bangladesh and India have huge passionate fan following and 90,000 of them will gather around at Melbourne to support their respective team. India has been victorious so far against two green dressed jerseys of Pakistan and S.Africa, and now Bangladesh awaits. Both the countries are happy with the match up. India is happy to be at number 1 in Pool B and Bangladesh is happy that they got through instead of England. Question is: Who is going to go through? In terms of talent, experience, temperament etc India wins, but there are always surprises in Sports.
From Indian stand point of view, they need to continue to do what they have done so far – which is to win convincingly. First time in a World Cup or any competition, India has won six consecutive games. All six occassions, Indian bowlers have bowled out the opposition, picking up 60 wickets. India’s bowling is a major plus. Couple of years back, India’s three fast bowler might have been: Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Today, none of these three find the place. Umesh Yadav, Mohd Shami and Mohit Sharma has outperformed with their accuracy, speed and more importantly wicket taking ability. Ravi Ashwin is having the tournament of his life. He has never bowled so good in any other competition. R.Jadeja has done excellent support role and S.Raina chipped in here and there.
India’s batting was never a concern but Shikhar Dhawan’s return of form has given lot of confidence. Traditionally, when India does not lose more than a wicket in first 10 overs, they win. Rohit Sharma has yet to score a century and one might just feel, it is just around the corner. Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina are in top form as well and there is no other better finisher in the world than M S Dhoni. On top of batting and bowling, this is the best indian fielding side ever fielded in the World Cup. So What do India has to do to win? Just play the normal cricket.
Bdesh on the other hand has to think something to outsmart Indians. Bdesh has to play the top notch game, with no mistake to win. Thankfully for them, Mahmadulla is in the form of his life, well supported by Sakib and Mushfiqur. Their middle lower order looks good, but they need to ensure that they do not expose them before 20th over. First 20 overs when Bdesh bat is going to be crucial. If they do not lose more than 2 wickets, they can bat through. 3 wickets and there is a game on. 4 wickets in first 20 overs, and they lose the game.
Bdesh bowlers are not going to win them the game. Its not because they are not good enough but because Indian batsman are very good and in good form. However they can keep Bdesh in the game. They will be competitive. If Bdesh bats first, they will need to score 280+ runs and hope that Indian batsman makes mistake under pressure of chasing (highly unlikely). If Bdesh bowls first, they need to focus on taking wickets. Take as many as they can and keep India out under 280.
Players to Watch out for? Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Mohd Shami, R.Ashwin from India and Sakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur, Mahmadulla from Bdesh side.
End result? Indian Victory, but not as easy and convincing as was S.Africa against Sri Lanka. It will be better game than that.