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The Nidahas T20 tri-series has gotten off to an exciting start as Sri Lanka managed to pull off an upset against the highly favored Indians. Now, India finds itself under pressure facing Bangladesh, who is also missing some key players. Bangladesh has had a rough time in T20 cricket over the last few weeks but will know that this is probably the best chance they have had to record their first T20 victory over India.
Shakib Al-Hasan will miss this entire series due to an injury thus raising the question of why he was picked in the first place. Mahmudullah will lead the Bangladesh side in his absence. We have always found it a little strange that Bangladesh does not find more success in the T20 format.
They have some very exciting batsmen and a lot of their players are wanted in T20 leagues across the world. The most important players for Bangladesh in this series will be Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah. There are other good players in the side but we feel it is these that are most closely linked to the success of the Bangladesh cricket team.
Tamim and Souyma Sarkar are likely to open the batting for Bangladesh followed by Mushfiqur Rahim at 3. We are not huge fans of Mushfiqur Rahim and think he is extremely limited with the bat. Sabbir Rahman, in our opinion, would be a much better option at 3. In fact, we would pick Mahmudulah at 4 and then slot in Mushfiqur Rahim towards the end.
Ariful Haque was given the job of batting at 6 and Saifuddin at 7 in their last series. These are extremely vital positions where players need to come in and start scoring straight away. If these are the two best players for Bangladesh right now then the team management needs to back them. There is also a case of playing Imrul Kayes in the top-3 and leave one of the lower order batsmen out. Everyone else after Kayes shifts down a spot.
The Bangladeshi bowling also seems to have the experience on paper but is going through a rough patch. Both Taskin Ahmed and Rubel Hossain have tasted success against India in the past while Mustafizur Rahman is a world-class operator in this form of the game.
The loss of Shakib Al Hasan will leave a hole in the bowling but Abu Jayed, Mahidy Hasan, and possible some overs from Soumya Sarkar should be able to put up a respectable fight.
Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim, Liton Das, Sabbir Rahman, Mehidy Hasan, Nazmul Islam, Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman.
Labeled as the favorites before the tournament, India suffered a comprehensive loss to Sri Lanka in the first match. There were a few things obvious from that performance. India missed the power hitting of Hardik Pandya and MS Dhoni in the last few overs. They also missed the pinpoint accuracy of Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar in their team.
In fact, we would say that it is the rested bowlers that are going to be missed more than even Virat Kohli in this series. Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, and Suresh Raina make for a good top order. Manish Pandey in the middle alongside Dinesh Karthik and Rishab Pant are all good players that will put pressure on the opposition.
The bowling lineup though looks severely depleted. Shardul Thakur does not look like the kinds to lead a T20 bowling attack and we would have much rather seen someone like Umesh Yadav in the squad. Jaidev Unadkat and Vijay Shankar also need to go a long way before being considered as people that could challenge for places in a full strength Indian side.
This match against Bangladesh will test the Indian side especially as there has been some friction between the sides in the past. Shikhar Dhawan continued his run-scoring spree with 90 runs to his name and will be needed to lead the batting assault in this series.
Rohit Sharma is back in familiar territory on subcontinental pitches and we think it is just a matter of time before he gets stuck in with a big score as well. After the top-2, though, India will be a little nervous. A situation where India’s openers get out cheaply could be disastrous for India.
The last match showed that India left about 20 runs on the park when they were batting first. Rishab Pant comes with a reputation of being a dasher but in his short international career, he has shown being too keen to live up to that tag. He goes at each ball very hard but does not end up finding the boundary that often.
He will need to improve and take his chances in this series.
The biggest positives for India were the bowling of Washington Sundar as well as the form of Manish Pandey. Both these youngsters have been on the fringe of the Indian squad for quite some time now and look ready for the big stage.
If India thought they were going to win this series by simply turning up then they were sorely mistaken.
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, SK Raina, Manish Pandey, RR Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Washington Sundar, V Shankar, YS Chahal, JD Unadkat, SN Thakur.
The pitch offered good bounce and carry for the bowlers in the first match and allowed the batsmen to play their shots with ease. We think a similar high-scoring match is set to be played this time as well. A little bit of rain is in the air but nothing that should prevent a full match from being played. Chasing is definitely the way to go in this match.
India has beaten Bangladesh the five times they have played a T20 against each other. This could be their toughest match against Bangladesh yet, although we still think they will have enough to overcome the challenge.