T20 World Cup 2024 | India look to strengthen semi chances

Rohit’s men eye Bangla scalp after win over Afghanistan
Last Updated : 21 June 2024, 21:08 IST

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Barbados: When India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour was asked if the team could fall prey to complacency after having been so dominant thus far, he was more bemused than inquisitive about the question. 

That, perhaps, is a good sign because as far as Rathour, the team in extension, is concerned there is no reality in which complacency or any sentiment of that nature would come in the way of their pursuit of greatness. 

Truth be told, this team looks destined for it. So, when they run into Bangladesh on Saturday for the second of their three Super Eight appointments, they will naturally assume the status of favourites. 

Moreover, Bangladesh have only once defeated India in the format across 13 games. As far as T20 World Cups are concerned, Bangladesh have never gotten the better of India. 

This is not to say a side which is composed of quality batters and spinners can’t change the narrative. This is only to say India, historically, at least have managed to best their neighbours, possibly even motivated by the fact that they continue to irk them. 

Contests between India and Bangladesh have been theatrical in the past, akin to a sibling rivalry, and that’s not likely to change in the next 24 hours or so. 

Bangladesh, the little brother in this case, has every reason to resent the well-oiled, well-paid, well-loved machine that is the Indian team, and India, the big brother naturally, deal with them as if trying to give them a time out for petulant behaviour every step of the way. 

These behavioural traits, however, will have to take the back seat for the stakes are too high for either side to dive into a space which could take away from the picture on the horizon, and compromise their commitment to progress. 

See, India so far have been one of the best teams in the tournament. They won three out of four scheduled games after the fourth Group A fixture was washed out due to rain, and their Super Eight opener against Afghanistan only reiterated their brilliance. 

This level of proficiency is not dissimilar to what they showcased during the 50-over World Cup last year. Sure, they lost the final game against Australia, but their level of completeness and execution was reminiscent of the Australian side of the 2000s vintage, and they’re at it again. 

They have batting options for all conditions and that goes all the way to No.8. They have so many all-rounders that they could forget that some of them bowl, exceptionally well at that. Meanwhile, the bowling core comprises Jasprit Bumrah, Arshdeep Singh and Axar Patel. The three have been remarkable, and they have Kuldeep Yadav and Mohammed Siraj as interchangeable parts to facilitate their ‘horses for courses’ scheme.

Bangladesh are hardly as well equipped. They have some nice batters in Towhid Hridoy and the ever-lasting Shakib Al Hasan, but the latter hasn’t been at his best with the ball, meaning Bangladesh have had to rely on the likes of the youth of Tandem Hasan Sakib and Rishad Hossain and the experience of Mustafizur Rahman to look better than they have been. 

This is a somewhat new Bangladesh. They’re in transition and it shows in the way they played against Australia, losing by 28 runs (DLS method), last evening where they put up 140 on a helpful pitch. 

They made it this far so that’s good for them, but they’ll need to be better at every facet if they are to put an end to this juggernaut called India. If they don’t, they’ll become just another opponent put away by arguably the most complete side in this tournament, a side which doesn’t know what complacency means. 

Teams (likely): Teams (likely): India: Rohit Sharma (capt), Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant (wk), Surakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj/ Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh. 

Bangladesh: Tanzid Hasan, Litton Das, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Rishad Hossain, Towhid Hridoy, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah, Mahedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Tandem Hasan Sakib, Mustafizur Rahman.  

Published 21 June 2024, 21:08 IST

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