T20 World Cup 2024: Pressure mounts on top order and Dube as India face Bangladesh

The ever-present tension of their decade-long rivalry on the big stage would make for a compelling subplot as unbeaten India take on a struggling Bangladesh, with both teams desperately hoping their batting stars will be at their best in the Super Eights clash of the T20 World Cup here on Saturday.

The overall head-to-head record clearly favors India, but Bangladesh is known for its bravery and Rohit Sharma and his men should be wary of that.

Off the field, the two South Asian neighbours have also been involved in some drama in the past, with Bangladesh often expressing concerns about India’s financial power in the sport.

However, with the World Cup currently underway, there is no doubt that India has a strong presence as a national cricket power and is therefore a serious contender for the title.

The “Men in Blue” showed a professional performance in their opening game of the Super Eights against Afghanistan.

With only one day of travel between the two remaining games, they can hope that the players who have not lived up to expectations will perform to their potential.

Topping this list is the opening pair of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, who both started in the starting line-up but were unable to convert their performances into decisive hits. They made a conscious effort to push the pace but ended up producing minimal results.

Another team member under pressure is left-hander Shivam Dube, who was named in the World Cup squad to hit sixes in the middle and in the death overs.

However, he has lost his IPL form, which had helped him earn a place in the World Cup, and has yet to join the party.

The left-hander scored an unbeaten 31 points in a group league match against the USA, but it was Suryakumar Yadav’s performance that ultimately made the difference.

Another loss could force the team management to consider Sanju Samson in the midfield.

The biggest plus in terms of batting performance in the Afghanistan match was Hardik Pandya’s cameo appearance. The all-rounder is known for his brutal batting and he was able to prove that on Thursday.

In bowling, India are expected to maintain their combination after giving skilful left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav the first chance of the tournament.

The wickets in the Caribbean have helped the spinners sufficiently, which has led India to play with three wickets at the Kensington Oval.

This combination is likely to continue here, with Kuldeep retaining his place at the expense of Mohammed Siraj.

“I think it is an advantage to play with three left-arm spinners. We have three left-arm spinners, of which we have two finger spinners and one wrist spinner,” said Axar Patel after the Afghanistan match.

“The combination of the three of us is very good. We have a good team. We communicate well. For example, we communicate who comes to bowl first, what works and what doesn’t. I think that’s very important when you bowl as a unit,” he added.

India’s only aim in the Caribbean is to win the Cup and a solid performance against Bangladesh would be another step forward in that regard. A tougher battle awaits them against Australia on June 24.

Bangladesh, who have struggled with their batting throughout the tournament, are in need of a win after their loss to Australia.

The lack of batsmen is hurting them and there is no quick fix to this problem. The poor performance of openers Litton Das and Tanzid Khan has added to Bangladesh’s problems.

“It is very important for the top order to score runs like we did today. This is a big incentive. Hopefully the bowlers can maintain their form. We hope to do well against India in our next match,” Bangladesh captain Najmul Shanto said after the loss to Australia here on Friday.

Both Shanto (41) and Towhid Hridoy (40) did well, but the rest of the lineup could not quite match their performance.

They will have to find a way to tackle Bumrah, who has been sensational so far, taking eight wickets at an unprecedented economy rate of 3.46 runs per over.

The pacers led by Mustafizur Rahman have done quite well, but leg-spinner Rishad Hossain needs more support in the spin department.

Squad: ====== Bangladesh: Tanzid Hasan, Litton Das, Najmul Hossain Shanto (captain), Shakib Al Hasan, Towhid Hridoy, Mahmudullah, Mahedi Hasan, Rishad Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Tanzim Hasan Sakib, Mustafizur Rahman, Jaker Ali , Tanvir Islam, Shoriful Islam, Soumya Sarkar.

India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Hardik Pandya, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Siraj.

Match starts at 8pm IST.

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