Saleque Sufi from Brisbane, Australia
Bengal tigers would have another opportunity for avenging the heartbreaking defeats against India in recent times in ICC events. In 2015 World cup quarter final at MCG many felt that Bangladesh was hard done by controversial umpiring decisions.
In T20 world cup in India Bangladesh lost dramatically failing to let match slip out of grip in last over trauma. India is World Champion. Bangladesh plays them at Oval London in a practice match before ICC Champions trophy 2017.
Though there is a possibility that the two teams may meet again in knock out stage yet today there would be opportunity for settling a score against new traditional rival. Mind you, Bangladesh beat India in bilateral series in 2015 at home (2-1).
The wonder boy who emerged in that series Mustafizur Rahman is rearing to go at them. Bangladesh and India are placed in two groups. Bangladesh in Group A alongside three formidable teams England, Australia and New Zealand. India is in group B alongside South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Only fools would predict who goes beyond round robin league as all teams are balanced and ICC curators would not prepare wickets favoring hosts or any team. But even then there would be possibility that India and Bangladesh may meet again possibly in the quarter finals.
India on paper is definitely the strongest team. They have the right balance of very aggressive batting having depth and diversity, very high quality spin attack and good pace attack. Players have come right from playing IPL.
Though adjusting from T20 to ODI usually takes some time. But seasoned professionals hardly need some adjustments. India had blown away New Zealand in their first practice match.
Bangladesh on the other hand acclimatized appreciably. They had a reasonably good Tri Nation Series in Ireland where they beat New Zealand and Ireland. They should have won their practice match against Pakistan. But poor batting and bowling in the slog overs and dropping few catches let Pakistan cornered off the hook.
Hopefully tigers would tighten the screws on India making it a feast for cricket admirers. India bats deep till number 9. Possibly Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan would open the innings. Both are blasters. Bowling short and giving room to them may backfire. Back to form again Kohli would bat at three.
Bangladesh must have plans for these top three. Any of the three, if not removed early, may bat Bangladesh out of the match. Perhaps Mashrafe Bin Mortaza would like to bowl his trump card Mustafiz for a two to three over spell and pair him with Rubel from the other end.
Team would miss the tricks of bowling of Nasir Hossain to Dhawan with the new ball. We are not sure whether Mehedi Hasan Miraz or Mahmudullah can do the same duty. Taskin Ahmed should play .He has a good history of bowling well against India.
The middle order comprising of Rahane /Pandya, Yuvaraj and Dhoni are capable of destroying any attack. They must be tamed with clever bowling and sharp fielding. Jadeja and Ashwin are also competent batsmen. Indian batsmen are the most skilled against spin. We are not sure Bangladeshi spinners can cause much dent to Indian batting.
Mustafiz, Rubel, Taskin and Mashrafe have to take charge. In Sami, Yadav, Kumar, Bumrah India has the best pace attack in recent memory. All of them are in peak form. World Cricket is aware that Jadeja and Ashwin are the ranked one and two bowlers at the moment.
But no worries if any team can take stern test of India on any wicket in ODI that must be Bangladesh now. That is what recent records would evidenced. Bangladesh plays their A game against better teams. The fearless Tiger contingent would be raring to go against the reigning champions for sure.
Against such a formidable opposition Bangladesh is a quality player short. Cannot imagine how a tried and tested all-rounder like Nasir Hossain can be sent back home from the touring party. His absence was keenly felt in two matches Bangladesh lost in the current mission. No one expects Bangladesh winning against reigning champions.
But Bangladesh must not throw the towel with fighting tooth and nail. Hope senior professionals Tamim, Shakib, Mushfiqur, Mahmudullah and Mashrafe would take the lead and young guns Soumya, Sabbir, Mosaddek, and Taskin would tweet.
It will be an even contest that can be assured. We, in Brisbane would miss the first 30 overs at least as it coincides with Tarabi. But we will definitely witness the match live till the last ball is bowled thereafter.
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar , Sabbir Rahman , Mushfiqur Rahman , Shakib Al Hasan , Mahmudullah Riyad, Mosaddek Hossain , Mashrafe Bin Mortaza , Rubel Hossain , Taskin Ahmed and Mustafizur Rahman.
It is mission of revenge. We are not sure whether Tigers can meet again with the reigning and potential champion in the tournament. A good show against the best of the bests would let out a strong message for the rest of the opponents. Shakib and Mustafiz seating out the entire IPL in the dugout must have lot to prove in the match.
Khondkar Saleque Sufi is an eminent Research Fellow of Monash University, Australia, He was the former Advisor at Ministry of Mines & Petroleum of Republic of Afghanistan and Deputy General Manager of Bakhrabad Gas Systems Ltd.