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Monday, Oct 21, 2019

WT20: After draining Pak test, India to recharge for Bangladesh clash

After the draining win over Pakistan, India enjoy a mini-break with Bangladesh next up on Wednesday

world-t20 Updated: Mar 22, 2016 10:50 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
N Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times
MS Dhoni is showing signs of coming back to form and a good show against Bangladesh will give the team momentum.
MS Dhoni is showing signs of coming back to form and a good show against Bangladesh will give the team momentum. (Ashok Nath Dey/HT Photo)

With the match against Pakistan given more importance than even the final, seeing off the opposition with some comfort in the end would have left hosts India exhilarated and at the same time emotionally drained.

All players barring Ajinkya Rahane enjoyed the second day of a much-deserved break on Monday, after landing from Kolkata the previous day. With the all-consuming mission accomplished at the Eden Gardens on Saturday, the second phase in the Super 10 Group 2 campaign of the World T20 starts now. Rahane, who has not played a game, attended the optional practice session with batting coach Sanjay Bangar.

India and the cricket world have lavished praise on Virat Kohli non-stop after his sensational innings and amazing calmness pulled the team out of trouble chasing a modest total.

Bengaluru boss

The most important member of the team will enjoy a bit of release thanks to the break and having arrived in the city whose IPL team he is the captain of. Bengaluru cricket fans put on a show by turning up in thousands on Sunday for Chris Gayle.

West Indies defeated a disjointed Sri Lanka with much to spare, but the fans were disappointed as their Royal Challengers Bangalore enforcer did not get to bat, the Caribbean team winning before Gayle — he left the field due to a hamstring twitch and had to spend that amount of time out — could get a hit.

Bengaluru, though, will come to a halt on Wednesday and the Chinnaswamy stadium will be overflowing when MS Dhoni and his men take on Bangladesh. The fans will be eager for Kohli to make up for Gayle’s ‘no show’.

Bangladesh are the weakest team in the group and have been unsettled with the suspension of bowlers Taskin Ahmed and Arafat Sunny mid-tournament for their illegal bowling action. It will provide a perfect opportunity for India to address a few things.

Regroup time

India’s first two matches, starting with the loss against New Zealand in Nagpur, have come on turning tracks. Although the pitch on which West Indies beat Sri Lanka did afford help for the slow bowlers, there was no sharp turn and the bounce was even. This is a game India will back themselves to win with ease without worrying about the pitch.

India need both openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan to fire after failing to get going against the Kiwis and Pakistan, and Wednesday’s game will be a perfect opportunity for them to contribute to victory before facing Australia in the final group game in Mohali.

Dhoni has backed Suresh Raina to retain his No 4 slot despite being bowled first-ball against Pakistan pacer Mohammad Sami after falling to Kiwi left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner. The batsman, who built his reputation as a finisher, betrayed poor technique and a lack of confidence on both occasions.

In case the skipper wants to test the alternative, this could be the match to try out Ajinkya Rahane.

Unlike in the 2011 World Cup campaign, defeat in the opening game has tempered soaring expectations and infused a touch of anxiety among India’s legion of supporters. That may not be a bad thing as it could ease the pressure on the players just that little bit.

First Published: Mar 22, 2016 10:50 IST

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