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India Look To Continue Winning Juggernaut In World Cup Clash vs Bangladesh | Cricket News

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Going by the current form of the teams, the popular pre-match prediction of India’s World Cup game against Bangladesh here on Thursday will be a romp for Rohit Sharma’s men. But if the glossy surface is scratched, one will have to tear away that view based on the form book. Bangladesh have beaten India three times in the last four ODIs — twice in a bilateral series in December 2022 and then in the Asia Cup Super Four match recently. In this tournament, the underdogs have already shown how to slay the giants.

If in doubt, check with England and South Africa about their feelings after their shock losses to Afghanistan and Netherlands respectively.

India would certainly want to avoid that banana peel and keep their good run intact in this World Cup.

In the batting front, captain Rohit will look to continue his imperious form while top order batters Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli will be eager to score big.

Rohit has been at the forefront of India’s domination in the last couple of matches with stunning knocks of 86 against Pakistan and 131 against Afghanistan. India are perched on the top spot in the points table and they would aim to extend their winning run.

While the two knocks of highest quality have put Rohit in the limelight, his younger opening partner Gill would be itching to get a big score for himself, given that he is back to full fitness and has had an impressive run in the ODIs this year.

For Kohli, a mistimed hit against Pakistan led to an early dismissal but that was a minor blip, as the batting maestro previously produced a masterful 85 against Australia and a match-winning 55 not out against Afghanistan.

Among others, Shreyas Iyer’s unbeaten fifty against Pakistan has signalled that India’s batting is firing in unison and there are no real concerns. As such, the team may not want to tinker with the winning combination just yet.

While India will look to make the most of batting-friendly conditions here at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, their mixed record of four wins in seven matches at this venue in ODIs, combined with the recent run against Bangladesh — three defeats in the last four one-dayers — makes the bowlers’ role all the more important.

No doubt, India will be firm favourites against Bangladesh, considering their bowlers’ top class performances in restricting Australia for a mere 199 and Pakistan for a poor 191.

Indian bowlers too have done a collective job though Jasprit Bumrah’s brilliance and Kuldeep Yadav’s guile made them a stand out attack from the rest in the competition, in their sheer ability to keep the opposition team’s scoring rate in check and making regular inroads even on the flattest of decks.

Bangladesh are not to be blamed if they spend a large part of their preparation time drawing up plans against Rohit, whose red-hot form promises a third century in a row in World Cup encounters against the ‘Tigers’.

Rohit’s stupendous 137 in the quarterfinal in Melbourne (2015 World) and 104 in Birmingham (2019) ensured his side exceeded the 300-run mark for a third consecutive time since 2011 edition against Bangladesh, with India burying their opponents under a mountain of runs on each of these occasions.

The Indian captain has hit eight centuries, the most for any batter in World Cup history, and it remains to be seen how soon he enters double-digit figures in terms of hundreds, given his magnificent form.

Notwithstanding their impeccable run so far, India will look to guard against any complacency knowing that this World Cup has already produced two sensational upsets, with defending champions England hunted down by Afghanistan and South Africa stopped in their tracks by a spirited Netherlands.

The knowledge of conditions and an expected packed house at the MCA Stadium promises India the best atmosphere once again to record another win in this World Cup and continue their march towards the semifinals, but Bangladesh are no pushovers and they have been a tricky side to face for India.

For Bangladesh, it is imperative that their best player and captain Shakib Al Hasan overcomes the challenge of a quad injury to his left leg and is available for selection on Thursday.

Shakib, who did not bowl on Tuesday during the team’s training session, will be essential for Bangladesh to take the fight to India.

A comprehensive win in the World Cup opener followed by two defeats against better teams has put Bangladesh in a position of some desperation, given that a third loss on the trot will only dent their hopes.

Litton Das and Mehidy Hasan Miraz have one half-century each to show at the top order from the first three games but more will be expected from young players Najmul Hossain Shanto and Towhid Hridoy, as only Mushfiqur Rahim has done the heavy-lifting in the middle order.

Taskin Ahmed’s sudden dip in form has piled up pressure on the team which has been scampering for bowling options, with the right-arm seamer managing only two wickets in three outings.

For someone as experienced as Mustafizur Rahman, the returns have largely been disappointing, as he also has only two wickets to show in three matches.

The Squads (From): India: Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya (vc), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishan Kishan (wk), Suryakumar Yadav.

Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (c), Litton Das (wk), Tanzid Hasan, Najmul Hossain Shanto (vc), Tawhid Hridoy, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah Riyad, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nasum Ahmed, Mahedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud, Shoriful Islam, Tanzim Hasan Sakib.

Match starts at 2pm IST.

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