Steely India face-off against desperate Bangladesh in Pune

Rohit Sharma’s India will look to boost their march towards the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 semi-finals with a successful outing against Bangladesh in Pune.

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Three of their batters average greater than 70, while four bowlers have picked up wickets at less than 25 runs apiece. With six points in their kitty on the back of three emphatic wins, the side is quickly becoming the team to beat in this World Cup. 

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However, as recent results in the competition show, any side can come out on the top on its day. England were upended by Afghanistan at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, while Netherlands stunned South Africa in Dharamsala. Bangladesh will look to bounce back in Pune. After a win in their first World Cup encounter, the Tigers have suffered back-to-back resounding losses. In both their defeats, the opponents managed to gain the upper hand quite early in the game and Bangladesh were forced to play catch-up.  But the Shakib Al Hasan-led team will know they have all the ingredients to spring a surprise on India. The outfit has a number of experienced names, including those who have tasted success against India in the past.

The number of all-round options such as Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Shakib, Mahmudullah add stability to the outfit. And their pace attack can be handy too if the conditions are of some assistance. They can also take heart from the fact they recently beat India in the Super Four stage of Asia Cup 2023.


India squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya (vc), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav.

Bangladesh squad: Shakib Al Hasan (c), Litton Kumer Das, Tanzid Hasan Tamim, Najmul Hossain Shanto (vc), Tawhid Hridoy, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nasum Ahmed, Shak Mahedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud, Shoriful Islam, Tanzim Hasan Sakib.

After being dismissed for a duck in Chennai, Iyer has picked up his game over the next two matches. He scored 25* and 53* against Afghanistan and Pakistan respectively. Having recovered from his back issues in recent months, the batter seems like a perfect resolution to India’s No.4 batter quandary.  In context of the Pune encounter, the Men in Blue will look to Iyer’s proficiency against spin in order to counter the Bangladesh tweakers. The middle-order batter has faced off against Bangladesh in recent times, and has done well against their spinners.

The diminutive keeper-batter has been Bangladesh’s crisis player for a number of years now. This showed in his fighting knocks against England and New Zealand respectively.  So far, Mushfiqur has played the dual role of stabilising the Bangladesh innings after early losses and that of the aggressor after getting his eye in.  His record against India might seem modest, with an average of merely 31.66 in ODIs. But he has played some big knocks against them, such as a match-winning unbeaten 56 during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2007. 

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