India look to seal final berth


On a high after defeating Sri Lanka on Monday, Team India are all set to face Bangladesh in their final round-robin encounter against Bangladesh at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo tonight. A victory will assure India of a place in the final of the Nidahas Trophy, to be played on Sunday.

History tells us that India are heavy favorites. After all, the Men in Blue have never lost a Twenty20 International to Bangladesh. That said, the way Bangladesh upset Sri Lanka — chasing a 215-run target, no less — India simply can’t afford to take the ‘Tigers’ likely.

It is expected to be cloudy in the Sri Lankan capital. And thunderstorms are expected to make their presence felt during the start of the match. Of the last eight matches played at the Premadasa, the team batting first has lost on seven occasions. Interestingly, the only team to have successfully defended a target at this venue is Bangladesh, when they defended 176/9 against Sri Lanka last year.

India will hope for a complete performance in their final league match of the tri-series. And, once again, the focus will be on skipper Rohit Sharma. In the bowling department, Shardul Thakur will be the most confident of the lot. His 4/27 earned him the Man of the Match award on Monday. He will certainly hope to do a repeat. In the opposite camp, Mustafizur Rahman has been able to break the opening partnership on both the occasions but has been expensive.

Shikhar Dhawan has been in exceptional form. His 90-run knock against Sri Lanka is the highest score by any batsman in this series. Yes, it came in a losing cause but there’s no denying that India need Dhawan to fire all over again. Suresh Raina, too, has looked in decent form. Manish Pandey’s form is another positive. On the other hand, Bangladesh’s Tamim Iqbal and Liton Das put up an exceptional show in the big chase against Sri Lanka. The duo will be keen on continuing the good work.


Shardul Thakur vs Mushfiqur Rahim

Thakur and Rahman have done exceedingly well in this tournament. How they tackle the challenges posed by the opposition batsmen will go a long way in determining the outcome of the match. While Rahman has made the ball talk, and done so with good pace, Thakur has displayed his skills and variations, especially the knuckle ball.

Shikhar Dhawan vs Mustafizur Rahman

Shikhar Dhawan has been enjoying a good run of form. It will be a challenge for Rahman to keep him silent. If he becomes successful in doing so, it will be a big moment in the match. Getting rid of Dhawan will mean more pressure on the middle order.

Manish Pandey vs Rubel Hossain

Manish Pandey was unbeaten in the last match against Bangladesh. He had scored a 19-ball 27 to help India win at a canter. He has looked in sublime form. Hossain’s job will be to ensure Pandey doesn’t get going.

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