Rishabh Pant‘s flair and chutzpah at the top might be in demand but India could still persist with an out-of-form KL Rahul when it takes on a relatively weaker Bangladesh in the T20 World Cup, in Adelaide on Wednesday. Matches against Bangladesh across formats are always like a proverbial banana peel where slipping remains a possibility but India would certainly start favourite in their penultimate Super 12 match. The rude jolt the famed Indian batting line-up got on the paciest of tracks in Perth would have left the coaching staff, especially coach Rahul Dravid, pondering a few points.
The 22 runs in three matches with flop show against big teams like Pakistan and South Africa has once again raised questions about KL Rahul’s big-match temperament and technique against quality attacks.
However, KL Rahul might continue as opener as Dravid has unshakeable faith in the fellow Bengaluru player’s ability.
Bangladesh, not the most decorated of T20 sides in this competition due to their mediocre bowling attack, might just be the ideal opposition for Rahul to gain some form.
However, Pant’s exclusion from the playing XI is pretty baffling as he and Suryakumar Yadav bring that x-factor in the batting line-up.
Dinesh Karthik‘s back spasms issue might just be a blessing in disguise for the Indian team. It may open up the opportunity for Pant’s inclusion in the playing XI for the Bangladesh game.
Bangladesh have four left-handers in their batting line-up, including skipper Shakib, openers Soumya Sarkar and Najmul Hossain Shanto and middle-order batter Afif Hossain Dhrubo and it will be interesting to see if India continue with Ravichandran Ashwin, who was mauled by David Miller in the previous game, or play Axar Patel.
India’s attack may not struggle much in dealing with Bangladesh as the troika of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh and Mohammed Shami holds a distinct edge over rival side’s batting line-up.
A few numbers would corroborate how Bangladesh’s batters have struggled in this tournament. Out of the two games they have won, one was a thriller against Zimbabwe while they played a close game against the Netherlands.
Despite facing minnows, Shakib’s batters have struggled on bowler-friendly Australian pitches.
After three games, opener Shanto is the only batter to have aggregated more than 100 runs and that too at a strike-rate of 125 which isn’t commendable at all for an opener.
The second highest run getter is Afif, the middle-order enforcer. A lot will depend on how Afif and Mosaddek Hossain bat towards the back-end but against an Indian attack of this quality, they will be under pressure.
The team that opts to bowl first might make the best use of the famous Adelaide evening twilight when the ball swings a wee bit more than usual.
With three potent swing bowlers, it won’t be a bad idea if Rohit Sharma opts to bowls first and try to restrict Bangladesh to a low score.
For Bangladesh, the sharp slump in their only world class player Shakib’s form is the reason that they aren’t considered a threat for quality teams.
Shakib, who has had his run-ins with the BCB even during the ongoing World Cup, isn’t in the best frame of mind and the deterioration in his batting is difficult to fathom.
He is still bowling some restrictive left-arm spin but the bite is no more there and hence it could just be meat and drink for the Indian batters during their duel with the Bangladesh captain.
Squads: India: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Rishabh Pant (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel, Deepak Hooda
Bangladesh: Shakib al Hasan (captain), Najmul Hossain Shanto, Soumya Sarkar, Afif Hossain, Mosaddek Hossain, Mehidy Hasan Miraj, Shoriful Islam, Ebadot Hossain, Nurul Hasan, Litton Das, Taskin Ahmed, Hasan Mahmud, Yasir Ali, Nasum Hossain, Mustafizur Rahaman
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