I’d like to make one thing clear at the outset given all the talk about India being runaway favourites for the World Cup. Bangladesh, especially in Bangladesh, is not a team to be taken lightly.
The players under Shakib are a tight outfit, young, sure and very good. They have nothing to lose, they have the confidence of knowing they have beaten big-name teams and made the next round in the past and, importantly, they are playing at home.
Having said that, the trick for the Indians will be to hold their nerve right through the event, perhaps not so much now, as in the knockouts. This format, though, makes it a lot easier to get to the quarterfinals and teams, logically, would be looking to peak as they get closer to the next round.
But for the moment, they’ll have to concentrate on getting from one game to the next and I think India did that well in the warm-ups, with very professional displays.
How India will play
While a playing XI is picked on the basis of conditions, I would be surprised if Dhoni doesn’t go in with a 2-2 bowling combine. Of the seamers, Zak really picks himself and Munaf’s form should give him the edge over Ashish and Sreesanth for the first game. As far as the spinners go, I think it would be Harbhajan, of course, and Chawla.
I’ve been asked about Chawla's inclusion after being out of ODIs for very long. My opinion is that a leg-spinner is needed, especially for the middle overs and to offer variety.
Who, why, how?
India are lucky that in addition to the two main spinners, they have players like Sehwag, Yusuf and Yuvraj in the team for back-up spin options.
For the rest, we'll see how things pan out on Saturday. May the best team win.