Upbeat Tigers take on India to keep them in semifinal race

DHAKA, July 1, 2019 : Despite being in a hard-pressed situation, Bangladesh remain confident to keep their World Cup alive as they take on sub-continent rivals India in their penultimate match of the group phase in this World Cup at the Edgbaston in Birmingham on Tuesday.

With Pakistan and England breathing heavily on their neck, nothing other than a victory would keep them in the World Cup semifinal race.

England’s victory over India left Bangladesh in some tricky situation as far as their semifinal is concerned but for the time being they put the calculation to the rest.

The Tigers now need to win their match against India and pray for a defeat of England in their match against New Zealand on July 3. But if England win this match, Bangladesh will be eliminated from the race even before their last match against Pakistan on July 5 at Lord’s.

But what they at the moment can control is to win their match against India.

And they are in fact oozing with confidence even though they didn’t win any match against India in any format of cricket since their landmark bilateral ODI series victory in 2015.

But they came close on several occasions, mostly in T20 cricket though. Genuinely they pushed India in an ODI game in Asia Cup final last year before the mighty neighbours huffed and puffed for their three-wicket victory in the last ball.

Liton Das struck a scintillating 117 ball-121 to keep Bangladesh on course of a big total before a sensational middle order collapse saw Tigers restricted to a mediocre 222. But the bowlers made it damn tougher for India, vastly because they could take out India’s top order quickly to expose their vulnerable middle order.

In group match of the Asia Cup, Bangladesh however saw what carnage India’s top order is able to do. After restricting Bangladesh to 173, India eased it past with 36.3 overs, thanks to Rohit Sharma’s blazing 83 not out.

So from the first-hand experience, Bangladesh like other teams, know the template to beat India.

“Picking early wickets will be key to beat India and the players know that well,” said chief selector Minhajul Abedin Nannu. “Hope we will be able to make early breakthrough to push India back.”

Bangladesh are in the sixth position in the point table currently with seven points from seven games. India will come off in the match against Bangladesh with a 31-run drubbing to hosts England but they still remain in second position with 11 points from seven games.

The Tigers focus will be firm to take out India’s top order as early possible. Even though they conceded 337 runs against England, India’s bowling is equally strong. But Bangladesh looked not to give it a thought if the version of Soumya Sarkar and Mosaddek Hossain is taken into the consideration as they revealed that the Tigers are not wary of India’s bowling.

Jasprit Bumrah and the Indian spinners might be tougher to deal with for other teams but Liton Das showed the way in the Asia Cup final that how to neutrilise them. From that experience, Bangladesh have the confidence to deal with Bumrah and co-comprehensively.

While there is many ifs and buts, the fans went abuzz and keep the things heated up like the past in the social media outlet. And obviously the no-ball saga of 2015 World Cup came to the fore once again.

The Bangladeshi fans still believe if Rhoit Sharma was given out off the delivery of fast bowler Rubel Hossain, the Tigers can beat India to reach the 2015 World Cup semifinal.

Bangladesh and India so far faced off each other 35 times in ODI cricket in which India won 29 times in contrast of Bangladesh’s five.

In World Cup they however they met thrice with India winning two but Bangladesh drew the blood first in their first meeting in cricket’s biggest carnival. That was in 2007 when a young Bangladeshi side, comprised with the rookie like Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim stunned India by seven wickets, showing a sheering audacity. Particularly Tamim’ straight six off Zaheer Khan went into the World Cup cricket’s folklore.

Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, who then was in his peak, was instrumental in the victory claiming 4-38, still his World Cup beat figure. An out-of-form Mashrafe will definitely want to emulate that performance once again.

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