T20 World Cup: As semifinal race heats up, India aim for victory against Bangladesh (preview)

This week, the Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia is all about the race for the semifinals. With just a couple of matches to go, teams in the reckoning to get into the last-four stage will be looking to inch closer by correcting their mistakes and getting those crucial wins in their kitty.

For India, their fourth Super 12 match against Group 2 opponents Bangladesh at the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday is a good opportunity to correct the wrongs from their five-wicket loss to South Africa at Perth in order to keep themselves in the hunt for a spot in semifinals.

“We’re very confident, but we know we have to play very, very well from here on if we want to win. It’s really a question of winning the next four games, really. You have to win the next four games to be able to win this tournament,” were Dravid’s simple words in the pre-match press conference on India’s road in the tournament.

Against South Africa, India were undone by fiery pace and bounce from a tall four-man pace attack, led by Lungi Ngidi’s four wickets. Every batter faltered, barring Suryakumar Yadav, who made a brilliant counter-attacking 68 and carried India to a decent score.

Though bowlers tried hard by picking the first three wickets quickly, they were unable to stop David Miller and Aiden Markram from reaching their respective half-centuries. There were also lapses in the field by India, a side which isn’t associated much with sloppy fielding efforts.

For starters, India would want for their top order to start firing in unison. Though Virat Kohli has been among the runs, they would wish for captain Rohit Sharma and a struggling KL Rahul to form a solid partnership with the bat.

The middle and lower order comprising Suryakumar, Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik (if declared fit on morning of the match), would then have the job to double the score and indulge in some power-hitting if the top order fires.

With the ball, India need to decide how to make optimum use of the four overs from Ravichandran Ashwin, who can be handy against Bangladesh’s four left-handers, which also includes their captain Shakib Al Hasan, apart from getting their death-overs bowling right.

Bangladesh, on the other hand, arrive into this match on the back of a thrilling three-run win over Zimbabwe in Brisbane. In their campaign where they are also in with a chance to qualify for the semifinals, pacer Taskin Ahmed has been a standout performer for them.

In the tournament till now, Ahmed has taken eight wickets and has been great with the new ball, resulting in bagging two Player-of-the-Match awards in both of Bangladesh’s victories till now. He has also been supported very well by fellow pacers Hasan Mahmud and Mustafizur Rahman.

With the bat, opener Najmul Hossain Shanto’s career-best knock of 71 against Zimbabwe would have pleased the team management. But they would still like for Shakib, Soumya Sarkar, and the finishers, Nurul Hasan and Yasir Ali to put up a strong show with the bat against India’s bowlers.

When India and Bangladesh met last time in the T20 World Cup, it led to a heart-stopping one-run win for the former in Bengaluru in 2016. Whenever these two teams meet on the field, there is always drama, emotions and cricketing brilliance combined to make it an unforgettable match for fans from both countries.

“All the eleven players which India have, they are all capable to play for India and that’s why they are a part of the team. We know what we are coming up against tomorrow. We know the challenges and try to plan accordingly, prepare ourselves and do our best,” added Shakib.

With both teams tied on four points from three matches and only the net run rate separating them, India and Bangladesh will meet as sides in contention for the semifinals, as fans wait for another famous tale to be written in cricketing chapter between the two neighbours, though rain could play spoilsport to their best-laid plans in Adelaide.


India: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Arshdeep Singh and Mohammad Shami.




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