September 21, Friday; 17:00 IST
Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai
Live on Star Sports, streaming on Hotstar
The main picture
India beginning their defence of the Asia Cup with matches on consecutive days, in the sweltering heat of Dubai, was seen as a major disadvantage. But, actually, India have had and will continue to hold two distinct advantages over the three other teams who have qualified for the Super Four: the lack of travel exertions and the familiarity of the pitch and playing conditions at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Though India are not lacking in quality or experience, being able to play all their Asia Cup matches (six, if they reach the final) is a major plus for the defending champion.
On the flip side, India have to deal with the absence of Hardik Pandya, in particular, after he was ruled out of the tournament with an acute lower back spasm, while squad members Axar Patel and Shardul Thakur have also been ruled out with a left index finger injury and right hip and groin soreness respectively.
Captains of Bangladesh (Mashrafe Mortaza) and Pakistan (Sarfraz Ahmed) have displayed their displeasure at India’s scheduling and venue allotment. In Bangladesh’s case, they will play their first Super-Four match against India, who are the A1 team, on Friday, less than 24 hours after the completion of their final Group B match, which was played in Abu Dhabi. Also, Bangladesh’s result against Afghanistan will not have made a difference to their playing against India on Friday: even if Mashrafe Mortaza and co. beat Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi, they will still have played the defending champion in Dubai after being the B2 team regardless.
“Even a mad person would be upset. Basically what has happened is that we were made the second team in Group B even before we played the last game. It is frustrating. We came here with a plan. We would play Sri Lanka first and if we won and played well [against Afghanistan], we would be group champions and play the runners-up of Group A. But this morning we heard that we are already Group B runners-up regardless of whether we win or lose. So, of course, it is disappointing,” Mortaza said at a press conference on Wednesday.
The left wrist injury to Tamim Iqbal and his being ruled out of the tournament will not help Bangladesh’s cause either. The major positive, however, is Mushfiqur Rahim coming into the clash against India with runs under his belt, while Mohammad Mithun scored a half-century in Bangladesh’s first match. Bangladesh’s bowling attack haemorrhaged runs at the death against Afghanistan, though they were without Mustafizur Rahman, who was rested for this match. The return of Mushfiqur and Mustafizur will bolster Bangladesh, who, however, need to be at their absolute best to potentially beat India.
From India’s perspective, the emphatic result against Pakistan will give them the confidence of going all the way in the tournament. Bhuvneshwar Kumar showed glimpses of being back to his best with figures of 3/15 and in Kedar Jadhav they have a part-time off-spinner who is proving very effective once again. The team management will address the ideal combination going forward in Pandya’s absence, with Deepak Chahar, his replacement, likely to come straight back in.
Dubai International Cricket Stadium pitch report and forecast
Batting under lights in Dubai has been easier with the ball coming on to the bat better than in the first innings, though run-scoring has been difficult against the older ball. Having won when they have batted and bowled first, India will not be desperate to win the toss, which does put pressure on Bangladesh and what they will prefer to do.
The forecast says that Friday will be very warm but less humid with a high of 40 degree Celsius. The temperature in the evening is a more pleasant 34 degrees.
India vs Bangladesh head to head in ODI
India hold an overwhelming 27-5 head to head record against Bangladesh in 33 ODIs, with one match producing no result.
India vs Bangladesh playing XI
Chahar is likely to replace Pandya thanks to his repertoire being very similar to Pandya’s: a seamer who can bat lower down the order. Apart from this forced change, India are likely to retain their line-up from the thumping win over Pakistan.
Probable India playing XI: 1 Rohit Sharma (c), 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Ambati Rayudu, 4 Dinesh Karthik, 5 MS Dhoni (wk), 6 Kedar Jadhav, 7 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 8 Jasprit Bumrah, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Deepak Chahar
For Bangadesh, Mushfiqur and Mustafizur are likely to come back into the line-up, with Mominul Haque and Abu Hider Rony, who played against Afghanistan likely to make way.
Probable Bangladesh playing XI: 1 Mashrafe Mortaza (c), 2 Liton Das, 3 Nazmul Hossain, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim, 5 Mohammad Mithun, 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Shakib Al Hasan, 8 Mosaddek Hossain, 9 Mehidy Hasan, 10 Mustafizur Rahman, 11 Rubel Hossain
India, who have overcome Hong Kong and Pakistan’s challenges, will start this match as the favourite. Bangladesh’s chances of winning depend on how well they bat, whether they bat first or second against a quality Indian bowling attack comprising Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, and Yuzvendra Chahal.