Struggling Bangladesh in fight for survival against Bumrah & Co

Bangladesh

Big picture – India reap benefits of Hardik’s balancing act

Bangladesh will fight to stay alive in the T20 World Cup 2024 when they take on India in their second Super Eight clash in Antigua. The turnaround time from their loss on Thursday night to Australia is short, but at least they wouldn’t have had to hop islands, like India, who arrived hours after convincingly beating Afghanistan in Barbados.

Twice in two games now, India have relied on Suryakumar Yadav to steer them out of a wobble. There’s growing pressure, even if not entirely from within the team, on Shivam Dube to come good as the spin enforcer. And against a quality spin attack, Saturday will possibly be another stern test.

For long, Bangladesh have relied on their plethora of left-arm spinners to do the job on slow and low wickets. Now they have an attack with variety, and two trump cards in Mustafizur Rahman and the legspinner Rishad Hossain. Yet, they will be the first to admit the batters haven’t given their magicians enough of a cushion so far in the tournament.

That task may get that much tougher against India as they’ll come up against Jasprit Bumrah and an in-form Arshdeep Singh. India are also deriving the joys of having a fully-fit Hardik Pandya giving them the flexibility needed to play either a third seamer or a third spinner in Kuldeep Yadav. So Bangladesh’s batters have their task cut out.

Beyond the match-ups, there’s always the extra edge this rivalry has gained in recent times. It all began at the 2015 World Cup with a debatable no-ball call that had all of Bangladesh up in arms. Then Mustafizur-Dhoni happened. The drama spilled over into the 2016 T20 World Cup in Bengaluru and peaked during the Nidahas Trophy in 2018.

Since then, every meeting has had something riding on it, and as much as the players may say they’re insulated from the “noise”, the passionate fans from both sides have ensured this rivalry has assumed massive significance.

Saturday at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium will be no different.

Form guide

India WWWWW (last five completed T20Is, most recent first)
Bangladesh LWWLW

In the spotlight – Jadeja and Tanzid

The most Ravindra Jadeja has bowled in a single game so far at this World Cup is three overs against Afghanistan – when he took his only wicket of the tournament so far – and he wasn’t needed with the ball altogether in one of India’s four completed games. And he’s batted twice, for scores of 0 and 7 in his two outings. While there’s no imminent threat to his place, Jadeja will like one complete performance heading into the business end of the tournament.

Since he struck an unbeaten 58 to help Bangladesh prevent a 3-0 whitewash against USA late last month, Tanzid Hasan has got into double digits just twice in six innings, and made ducks in his two most recent innings. Bangladesh’s top-order wobbles have often led them into wicket-preservation mode going into the death overs, reducing their potential for big totals. Can he come good against a gun attack?

Team news – Soumya Sarkar an option for Bangladesh

India had an optional session on Friday morning. There’s little reason to tweak their combination, which includes three spinners. Mohammed Siraj is likely to remain on the bench.

India: 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Virat Kohli, 3 Rishabh Pant (wk), 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Shivam Dube, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Axar Patel, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Arshdeep Singh, 11 Jasprit Bumrah.

Tanzid Hasan’s form is a concern, but Bangladesh’s only other batting option is Soumya Sarkar, whose form hasn’t been promising either.

Bangladesh: 1 Tanzid Hasan, 2 Litton Das (wk), 3 Najmul Hossain Shanto (capt), 4 Towhid Hridoy, 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Mahedi Hasan, 8 Rishad Hossain, 9 Taskin Ahmed, 10 Tanzim Hasan, 11 Mustafizur Rahman

Stats and trivia – Rohit vs Mustafizur in focus

  • Rohit Sharma has been dismissed nine times by left-arm quicks in all T20s in 2024. All his three dismissals at this T20 World Cup have come against this variety of bowler. Bangladesh could look to exploit that weakness through Mustafizur, but Rohit has a good record against him: 122 runs in 72 balls in all T20s at a strike rate of 169.44, while being dismissed three times.
  • Shakib is one wicket away from becoming the first player to pick up 50 in T20 World Cups. He also needs just two more to become the second player, after Tim Southee, to reach 150 T20I wickets.
  • Despite playing just 10 games at the T20 World Cup, Arshdeep Singh is already India’s joint-third-highest wicket-taker in the tournament behind R Ashwin and Jadeja and alongside Hardik, with 20 wickets at a strike rate of 10.8.

Quotes

“I don’t think anyone talks much about Bumrah’s bowling. He has an idea of what to do and what not to do.”
India allrounder Axar Patel reveals that there is little management chatter about their premier fast bowler

“It is said to everyone that they should play with freedom. But they are trying to play according to their own plans. Why is it not happening? As I said earlier, I don’t know this personally. But if we play like this then it’s difficult for the bowlers to defend it.”
Bangladesh captain Najmul Hossain Shanto isn’t quite able to work out why they’re struggling with the bat

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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