Asia Cup 2016 formally commences with the India v Bangladesh clash at Dhaka on February 24th. The last time these two arch rivals met, a little known Mustafizur Rahman had shot to stardom by picking up 13 wickets in 3 ODI matches. India had lost an ODI series against their neighbours for the first time in history, and MS Dhoni’s captaincy was under serious strain! Almost 8 months since then, a lot of things have changed. Most importantly, the two teams would now be facing off against each other in the T20 format, which is not where from Bangladesh’s recent victories have come from. India, on the other hand, have recently played a number of T20s, and would be eager to inflict some payback on the home team this time.
India bank on recent success in T20s
It was a massive leap from No 8 to No 1 in the ICC T20 Rankings for the Indian team, when they blanked Australia 3-0 in the T20 series last month. The series victory against Sri Lanka too was a morale booster, as the Indians had to fight back after embarrassingly losing the 1st T20 at Pune. If there is one aspect of the game that the Indians can now claim to have improved upon recently, it would be bowling. Courtesy the combination of a veteran like Ashish Nehra and a youngster like Jasprit Bumrah, India now have the wherewithal to tackle situations in which spin turns ineffective. However, given the history of matches played in Bangladesh, one can well expect Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja to have some gala time in the next few days.
Bangladesh keen to leverage home advantage
Even though the hosts have recently enjoyed comparatively better fortunes in ODIs than in T20s, the Bangla Tigers promise to be more than just a handful under home conditions. Mahmudullah’s stint as captain of the Barisal Bulls, which reached the finals of Bangladesh Premier League against popular expectation, is expected to benefit him immensely in the upcoming mega tournaments. Mohammad Mithun and Nurul Hassan are expected to feature in the playing XI ahead of Imrul Kayes and Taskin Ahmed. In case Nurul does make the cut to the team, Nasir Hossain might probably have to sit it out. Skipper Mashrafe Mortaza, in his recent press conference has expressed confidence in Bangladesh’s ability to go the distance this time.
Asia Cup 2016 : India v Bangladesh – Match details
Venue – Shere Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka
Start time – 19.30 (local), 19.00 (IST)