A test of Bangladesh’s mental strength with series on the line

Match details
VCA Stadium, Jamtha, Nagpur
November 10, Sunday; 19:00 IST

The main picture
This has been a topsy-turvy Twenty20 International series, with Bangladesh at times competitive and at times dominant in the first two T20Is. Amid a few one-sided T20I series recently, two under-strength teams have provided two watchable contests, which have, however, not entirely been byproducts of quality cricket.

The fielding, in particular, has been sloppy from both teams and the relative lack of experience in the bowling attacks has been evident. The series-deciding third T20I could hinge on the fielding and bowling displays from both teams, whose batsmen have so far been integral to their team’s wins.

Bangladesh might feel they missed an opportunity to land a knockout blow in Rajkot after the high of winning in Delhi. The Liton Das-Mohammad Naim partnership provided them the ideal start to their innings but they then ceded control by losing wickets in trying to accelerate the scoring rate. Later, seeing the India captain Rohit Sharma take their bowling apart is likely to have dented the morale in the camp. Which is why the mental side of their game, as much as their cricketing ability, will be crucial in their pursuit of a first T20I series win over India.

India have reasons to be confident going into the series decider after their dominant win in Rajkot. It would be their first T20I series win on home soil this calendar year. The inexperience in the bowling attack is likely to be addresssed, with Khaleel Ahmed potentially making way for Shardul Thakur in Nagpur for the third T20I. The comparatively bigger boundary at the VCA Stadium will test India’s ground fielding and catching once more, and it’s an area of their game that has the potential to tilt the balance of the match.

VCA Stadium pitch report and weather forecast

The pitch at this venue has largely been good for batting, though we have seen it being dry and difficult for stroke-making on occasions (the India-New Zealand match at the 2016 T20 World Cup is a case in point). For the match tomorrow, it is likely to be good for batting, with dew potentially a factor again. The spinners will be encouraged by the bigger boundary at the venue, giving them extra protection.

The forecast is for clear weather on Sunday, though the air quality is said to be hazardous.

India vs Bangladesh 3rd T20 playing 11

Predicted India playing 11: 1 Rohit Sharma (c), 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 KL Rahul, 4 Shreyas Iyer, 5 Shivam Dube, 6 Rishabh Pant (wk), 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 Washington Sundar, 9 Deepak Chahar, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Shardul Thakur

Possible Bangladesh playing 11: 1 Mahmudullah (c), 2 Soumya Sarkar, 3 Liton Das, 4 Mohammad Naim, 5 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 6 Mosaddek Hossain, 7 Aminul Islam, 8 Afif Hossain, 9 Al-Amin Hossain, 10 Shafiul Islam, 11 Mustafizur Rahman

Key to success

Form Bangladesh’s perspective, they need the batting to come good to give themselves a chance of winning this series, whether they bat first or second. Also, the lack of wickets from Mustafizur Rahman, their senior-most bowler, is a cause for concern. However, the left-arm pacer has the experience and armoury to bounce back from two wicketless outings. India must improve their fielding, which Rohit acknowledged at the post-match presentation on Thursday, to make life easier for themselves with the series on the line.

How and where to watch

The second India vs Bangladesh T20I is being broadcast on the Star Sports network, while Hotstar will provide the live stream.