Indian players are cock-a-hoop after defending 105 in the 2nd ODI © AFP
Mirpur: Jun 18, 2014
Having recorded an improbable victory after defending the lowest-ever score in the history of the game, a confident Indian team would look to go for the kill by completing a 3-0 rout when it meets an out-of-sync Bangladesh in the final One-Day International (ODI). Defending a paltry 105 with an astounding show, the ‘Men In Blue’ will be on cloud nine as they gear up for a ‘Whitewash’ of Mushfiqur Rahim and Co.
More than dismissing Bangladesh for 58, what Stuart Binny’s unbelievable figures of six for four did was to ensure that home team’s confidence hits nadir and Suresh Raina‘s boys will now go for the jugular in the final match of the series to end on a high. Raina will be happy that while his openers set up a well-deserved win in the first ODI, his seamers did a splendid job in a low-scoring second match yesterday.
If his middle-order batsmen can get some runs under their belt in tomorrow’s match, the team will feel that they have ticked all the boxes during this hurriedly sandwiched series before the England tour. For India, the only cause of concern will be the performance of their middle-order batsmen Ambati Rayudu and Cheteshwar Pujara.
While Rayudu was unbeaten during the first match, Pujara has been dismissed cheaply for scores of 0 and 11 in both matches although he suffered in the first one due to an umpiring error. With the series already pocketed, it would be interesting to see whether skipper Raina along with coach Duncan Fletcher experiments a bit with the middle-order.
Time is certainly running out for Pujara as far as his place in the ODI side is concerned. Not the quickest of fielders, Pujara has not even managed a score 20 plus in the five ODIs he has played so far. Rayudu, on his part, has never looked in control of situations in the 12 ODIs that he has played so far. A strike-rate of less than 70 in ODIs in these days with field restrictions loaded in favour of batsmen is not exactly what is expected from a specialist willow wielder.
If the team management has an objective of trying out all the fringe players, then the likes of Kedar Jadhav and Manoj Tiwary would deserve a go in the middle-order in place of Rayudu and Pujara. However, the Indian teams, over the years, have had a knack of sticking to winning combinations even after a particular series has been clinched.
It will be trouble either ways for Bangladesh as a flat track will be a giveaway even for this second rung Indian batting line-up but a track with seam and bounce might spell doom for their batsmen whose questionable temperament has been thoroughly exposed. With only two competent batsmen in all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and skipper Mushfiqur Rahim in the set-up, it will be a Herculean task for their coach Chandika Hathurasinghe to turn the tide around.
Tamim Iqbal, who once used to be India’s nemesis, has completely gone off the boil since the ICC World T20. Some of his strokes in the recent past calls for sanction and in this scenario, one can safely assume that Indians are overwhelming favourites for a clean sweep.
Suresh Raina (captain), Robin Uthappa, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ambati Rayudu, Stuart Binny, Wriddhiman Saha, Akshar Patel, Parveez Rasool, Mohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Amit Mishra, R Vinay Kumar, Kedar Jadhav, Manoj Tiwary.
Mushfiqur Rahim (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque Bijoy, Mithun Ali, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah Riyadh, Zia-ur Rahaman, Nasir Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Al-Amin Hossain, Mashrafe Mortaza, Sohag Gazi, Mominul Hassan, Abdur Razzak, Shamsur Rahaman.
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