This could be a very close contest in the final match of the series © AFP
India play Bangladesh in the third and final One-Day International (ODI) at Mirpur on June 19, 2014. India have already sealed the three-match series with two victories. While India will be looking for a clean-sweep, Bangladesh will want a consolation win in front of their home crowds. Shrikant Shankar looks at the key battles that could pan out in the match.
Robin Uthappa vs Taskin Ahmed
Robin Uthappa was dismissed by debutant Taskin Ahmed in the second One-Day International (ODI) and was made to look a little silly. Uthappa mishit a pull to a wide delivery and got out. While he has been in exceptional form, batsmen lose that purple patch with some unwanted strokes. If Uthappa can buckle down and play a long innings, he will not only maintain his form, but be closer to sealing his spot in the Indian team in the near future. But Taskin was magnificent on debut and if there is enough swing or seam movement, then he will be a handful again.
Ajinkya Rahane vs Mashrafe Mortaza
Ajinkya Rahane was brilliant in the first ODI as he scored 64 runs to help India win. But he fell prey to Mashrafe Mortaza off the first ball he faced in the second ODI, LBW to an in-swinging delivery. Mashrafe is an experienced player and he will try and get Rahane out with more deliveries that come in early on. Rahane does have the technique to counter that, but it will not be easy early in his innings.
Suresh Raina vs Shakib Al Hasan
Suresh Raina’s 27 runs in the second ODI were invaluable for India. Those runs were scored at a strike-rate of 117.39 when the whole team struggled to get to grips with the conditions. Raina has been in and out of the Indian side recently, but a series win with a weakened side under his captaincy bodes well for him. But he will have to counter Bangladesh’s best cricketer in Shakib Al Hasan. The all-rounder has had a good series with both bat and ball. He will be smarting at not winning his team a match, so Raina must tackle Shakib better in the third ODI to further his own place in the Indian team.
Stuart Binny vs Mithun Ali
Stuart Binny has entered the ODI record books with figures of six for four. His spell destroyed Bangladesh’s innings as they were bowled out for 58 chasing a 106-run target. The pitch and conditions suited Binny’s type of bowling. But another Bangladesh debutant, Mithun Ali, played well in the second ODI. As his teammates fell quickly and cheaply, Mithun scored 26 runs off 39 deliveries. He would gain confidence out of such an innings in the unusual nature of the match. Binny needs to take advantage of his form and prove it was not a one-off innings.
Mohit Sharma vs Tamim Iqbal
If Binny got all the plaudits, Mohit Sharma deserved his fair share of them as well. The seamer took four wickets for 22 runs as he pegged away at the Bangladesh top-order. Mohit has surprised his critics in the last few months, as he was the leading wicket-taker in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014. He got Tamim Iqbal out in the second ODI and will be looking to cash-in on the opener’s poor form. If Mohit can get the better of Tamim, it will put more pressure on the likes of Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib to score the runs. But if Tamim does manage to play out Mohit and get the runs, Bangladesh will get the upper hand.
Note: There might be changes in both the team’s line-ups as the series is decided. In that case, some of the above mentioned players may not play the third and final ODI.
Catch all the stories from India’s tour of Bangladesh 2014 here
(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)