India vs Bangladesh: A rivalry on the rise

File photo of Dinesh Karthik and Washington Sundar after scoring the winning run to defeat Bangladesh by 4 wickets during the final of Nidahas Twenty20 Tri-Series. Photo credit: AFP

When Mushfiqur Rahim drove Munaf Patel through the covers for a single, the entire Bangladesh dress room danced in jubilation. A nation erupted in joy as the green flag with a red disc in the middle fluttered proudly in the breeze of victory. Bangladesh defeated India by five wickets in the group stage match of ICC World Cup 2007. It was the beginning of a tale, a story that will take its course eight years later in another group stage match of a World Cup. 

India defeated their neighbours by 109 runs in the quarterfinal of 2015 World Cup. Fate smiled a faint smile and stoked a fire. A fire that would engulf entire Bangladesh, fuelled by the anger over a controversial no ball that reprieved Rohit Sharma. The world gasped in awe as the fury gave birth to a rivalry, a narrative hitherto unknown in the paradigm of Asian cricket. It is a rivalry that will define the years to come. 

India toured Bangladesh later in 2015 and succumbed to a 1-2 defeat in the three-match ODI series. It sent tremors across the entire sphere of cricket as Bangladesh clinched their first ever bilateral series victory against India. The fire lurked in the darkness, ready to pounce on the euphoria. 

Then followed a series of tense encounters where one team was exalted after wandering through the labyrinth of despair. And another team sighed with their spirits shrouded by dejection after having a glimpse of victory. It happened over and over again, dragging the past back to the present and creating a loop in the linear flow of time.

World T20 2016: Bangladesh needed two runs to win from three balls with four wickets in hand. They could have landed one blow and knocked India out of the tournament. They lost by four wickets. 

Asia Cup 2018 final: India won by three wickets in the last ball of the match.

Nidahas Trophy final 2018: Dinesh Karthik hit a six in the last ball to seal the match for India. 

Fate has unraveled a myriad of mysteries to these teams. It has sometimes smiled at one, often it has beckoned the other to glory. India ended up as the victors, but that came at a cost. They lost the luxury of perceiving Bangladesh as a minnow, as a new battleground emerged in the arena of Asian cricket. 

A battle where the stadium resonates with the frantic prayers of fans, where the air smells of fear. The world awaits with bated breath for a clash between India and Bangladesh as the encounter has always promised the folklore of cricket a new story. A story written by the fire of feud. 

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