Asia Cup: India pray for Bangladesh victory against Pak
When Bangladesh face Pakistan at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium on Tuesday, India will be the most edgy team. Watching from the confines of the hotel, an hour's drive from Mirpur, the Men in Blue would hope for a miracle.
Having come up short against Sri Lanka and Pakistan after the success against Bangladesh, Indian hopes are difficult to spot. For the unforeseen progression of India would require the mauling of Pakistan by an unsettled Bangladesh.
Just a step away
With nine points from three games and an impressive net run rate of 0.438, Pakistan are a step away from the final. With four points in three games (NRR -0.027) India are third below Pakistan and Sri Lanka, who sit atop the table.
Two losses in two games keep Bangladesh last, under Afghanistan who beat them. With only the top two progressing to Saturday's final, India have only a mathematical chance.
Even if India defeat Afghanistan with a bonus point, they would need Bangladesh to thrash Pakistan to ensure the net run rate too drops significantly.
The return of all-rounder Shakib-al-Hasan after ending his suspension will transform the Bangladesh middle-order and add depth to their bowling, but the absence of injured batsman Tamim Iqbal and pacer Masrafe Mortaza will hurt.
BCB boss furious
To add to their woes, there were reports of the Bangladesh Cricket Board president questioning the interests of various team members on Monday in the local media.
"It is sad that I have perhaps not been able to lead the team as a unit. We did not perform the way we can," admitted Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim. "We have to give our 200 percent. We will show them the real Bangladesh." Misbah-ul-Haq's boys took it easy after the tense win over India on Sunday. The only area they can look to improve is their inconsistent batting.
A simple victory or a narrow loss would work for Pakistan as they come up against a Bangladesh battling for pride. It is India who will be doing the math, the only aspect which provides them the thinnest of hopes.