As India continues its quest for a third ODI World Cup title, they prepare for a high-stakes clash against their Asian rivals, Bangladesh, at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Thursday.
With three consecutive victories under their belt, India’s campaign has ignited in a spectacular fashion.
They have conquered formidable opponents in Australia, Afghanistan, and arch-rivals Pakistan, winning by 6 wickets, 8 wickets, and 7 wickets, respectively. As it stands, India and New Zealand are the sole undefeated teams in the 10-team tournament.
On the other hand, Bangladesh has encountered mixed fortunes, securing just one win from their initial three matches.
They started their World Cup journey with a 6-wicket victory over Afghanistan but have since tasted the bitterness of defeat at the hands of England and New Zealand.
However, despite Bangladesh’s recent form, the Men in Blue must exercise caution and avoid upset from the Shakib Al-Hasan-led side. On that fateful day, Bangladesh orchestrated a stunning victory over India, an upset that led to India’s premature exit from the tournament.
In recent years, Bangladesh has emerged as a formidable opponent for India, consistently pushing them to the brink in ODIs and T20Is. A few well-pitched deliveries or a handful of well-timed shots, and Bangladesh could easily create white-ball cricket upsets against India.
Despite their recent setbacks, Bangladesh is expected to approach this game with an aim for a much-needed victory. If Bangladesh seeks additional motivation, they need only look to the surprising victory of Afghanistan and the Netherlands over England and South Africa, respectively.
These underdog victories demonstrate that any team, including Bangladesh, can potentially overcome the odds and emerge victorious against India.
Both teams, India and Bangladesh, have compelling reasons to bring their A-game to this pivotal encounter.
One notable concern is the fitness of Shakib Al Hasan, a key figure in the Bangladesh lineup. Shakib sustained an injury in the previous match against New Zealand, forcing him to leave the field early.
The absence of Shakib in this match would undoubtedly be a substantial loss for Bangladesh, emphasizing the significance of his potential presence in the lineup.
IND vs BAN Probable XI
India: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj
Bangladesh: Litton Das, Tanzid Tamim, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Shakib Al Hasan* (c), Mushifiqur Rahim (wk), Towhid Hridoy, Mahmudullah, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Shoriful Islam