Tri-series: Bangladesh vs India Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

Can Bangladesh inflict a second defeat on India in as many T20 International fixtures when the sides meet in Colombo?

Bangladesh need a solid start to what will surely prove a very challenging campaign, but won't have veritable one-man army, Shakib Al Hasan, in their ranks.

India need to bounce back from defeat to Sri Lanka in the T20I tri-series opener - and justify the questionable decision to rest several stars.
Bangladesh v India | Thursday, 8 March | R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo | 15:30
 
To Win Match (Forecast odds)
Bangladesh 7/4
Tie 35/1
India 4/9

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Bangladesh
Bangladesh have never beaten India in the shortest format of the international game in five attempts - and will know this is their greatest chance to do so against a depleted unit. Ideally, they'd have liked Al Hasan to help them along, but a finger injury has sidelined him - and their batting and bowling is therefore substantially lighter than expected.

Mohammad Mahmudullah will lead the team in the absence of Al Hasan, rather than Tamim Iqbal, who was in contention but ultimately overlooked. This, largely, is to allow Tamim to solely focus on his primary role with the bat. It's going to take a lot for the Tigers to post 170-plus totals against the Indians - and Iqbal will have to lead this pursuit.

Bangladesh have the seventh-best T20I bowler at their disposal in speedster Mustafizur Rahman. The youngster is going to have to vary his pace a lot, not just belligerently bang it in. He'll face a particularly taxing challenge up front, inside the opening six-over powerplay, against Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan.

This is yet another opportunity for Bangladesh to show they're not necessarily the most inferior of the sub-continental teams - and they'll be the first to admit the shortest format often presents their highest likelihood to outdo superior opposition. Their last T20I visit to Thursday's venue, incidentally, brought a historic victory over Sri Lanka in April last year.

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India
India's choice to rest batsmen Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni didn't necessarily backfire in the series opener, when Sri Lanka successfully chased down a tough 175-run target, but the absence of Jaspirt Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar was rather evident. The back-up seamers, indeed, need to perform much better.

They will likely open the bowling with spinner Washington Sundar again - or the 18-year-old must at least bowl inside the opening powerplay after Shardul Thakur has shared the new ball with Jaydev Unadkat for four or five overs. Sundar exploited conditions well earlier this week - and is tipped to repeat this, particularly if Sharma wins the toss and opts to bowl first.

The Indians did well enough to halt several promising starts from the Sri Lankan order, but they need to make sure any two of the Bangladeshi batsmen aren't able to replicate the top-order command and late-order finishing enjoyed by Kusal Perera and Thisara Perera, respectively.

Bangladesh's characteristic mental fragility will be among India's chief 'ins', especially with Shakib absent and if Tamim gets out early. Their batsman, including Shikhar Dhawan, who is brimming with confidence after a near century on Tuesday, can then cash in against a Mashrafe Mortaza-less bowling attack. 

Verdict: India 4/9
India should record their sixth straight T20I victory over Bangladesh - and ensure Sri Lanka remain the only unbeaten team in the seven-match competition so far.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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