Bangladesh look to settle scores against India in first ODI

Bangladesh look to settle scores against India in first ODI

MIRPUR (Dhaka): The hype over the three-match ODI series between Bangladesh and India beginning at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium on Thursday reminds you of last month’s title bout between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.

And even though there are great expectations from Bangladesh — just like boxing fans had from Pacquiao — the smart money is on India pocketing the series without much ado — much like Mayweather had done in Las Vegas on May 2.

The buzz over Bangladesh stems from their recent results in ODIs. A win over England in the World Cup and a 3-0 whitewash of Pakistan at home has given Bangladesh cricket a shot in the arm.

If they are bullish about their chances in the ensuing series it is because just about everyone in Bangladesh believes that but for a couple of umpiring decisions that went against heir team, the ‘Bangla Tigers’ would have defeated India in the WC quarterfinal at the MCG.

It is a different matter that Indian players and fans have a diametrically opposite view of the match that Bangladesh lost by 109 runs, but there s no denying the fact that with likes of Mahmudullah, Soumya Sarkar, Mominul Haque, Taskin Ahmed, Litton Das, Mustafizur Rahman and Rubel Hossain bursting forth with eye-catching performances, the hosts are a much-improved side.

India’s ODI captain MS Dhoni is not the sort who spends too much time worrying about the opposition. Having been in charge of India’s limted-overs side for eight years and guiding the team to the World T20 title in 2007 and the World Cup triumph in 2011, Dhoni knows the grammar of one-day cricket like the back of his hand.

His confidence in his players was reflected by his reluctance to change the playing XI in the World Cup where India’s winning run came to a halt in the semis against eventual champions Australia.

It is, therefore, most unlikely that Dhoni will carry out cosmetic changes in the playing XI for the sake of it. Unless there is heavy rain and the pitch absorbs a lot of moisture, expect Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma to open the batting with Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and Ajinkya Rahane to follow. If the top-5 remains true to their recent form, Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja may not have much to do with the bat.

If the weather holds and the pitch remains as brown as it looked on match-eve, expect three pacers – Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma -to share the bowling load with spinners R Ashwin and Jadeja.

NUMBERS GAME

89.28

India’s winning percentage against Bangladesh in ODIs – 25 wins, three losses and one no-result in 29 games.

56.81

MS Dhoni’s average, while aggregating 6022 runs in 178 matches as captain – the highest among three captains with 6000 runs or more in ODIs. Ricky Ponting has the next best average – 8497 (ave.42.91) in 230 matches followed by Stephen Fleming – 6295 (ave.32.78) in 218 matches.

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