Colombo: Since their loss in the opening fixture of the Nidahas Trophy, India have looked strong, the dominant force they were expected to be in the tournament, and it started with the six-wicket win over Bangladesh.
The first round of matches ended with all three teams having won one match each, but India register a comprehensive win over Sri Lanka in the last game and go to the top of the table.
It’s all looking very good for India at the moment. Sharma himself might have had a lean trot with the bat, but Shikhar Dhawan has played two good innings, Suresh Raina has two 20s on the go, and Manish Pandey and Dinesh Karthik have done the finishing job well so far.
KL Rahul also looked good when he came in for the out-of-form Rishabh Pant in the last game till he was dismissed hit wicket, so no major concerns on that front.
With the ball, too, India have had success as they restricted Bangladesh to 139/8 first and then stopped Sri Lanka at 152/9 on a pitch that Thisara Perera felt was “beautiful” for batting.
Shardul Thakur has been excellent since getting bashed about by Kusal Perera in the first game, while Washington Sundar has an economy rate of 6 despite bowling most of his overs in the Powerplay.
India made only one change in the previous game, replacing Rishabh Pant with KL Rahul, and barring any last-minute injuries, they are likely to go with the same XI.
It all worked beautifully for Bangladesh against Sri Lanka, especially after the way Tamim Iqbal and Liton Das got off to a flyer and Mushfiqur Rahim did stellar work to finish things off. Those are good signs, even though Mahmudullah, the stand-in captain, hasn’t quite hit his straps yet and both Soumya Sarkar and Sabbir Rahman have blown hot and blown cold in turn.
The bigger concern for Bangladesh is in the other department, where the three-pronged pace attack has been very expensive.
Rubel Hossain had a good game against India, and Mustafizur Rahman has picked up four wickets so far, but they have both gone for runs, while Taskin Ahmed, the third part of the plan, has given away 68 runs in six overs so far.
Bangladesh are unlikely to change their winning line-up but there are strong question marks next to Sabbir Rahman and Taskin Ahmed after the Sri Lanka game. Ariful Haque and Abu Jayed could be options to consider.
India: Rohit Sharma (Capt.), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Rishabh Pant (wk), Vijay Shankar, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohammed Siraj
Bangladesh: Mahmudullah (Capt.), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Sabbir Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Abu Hider, Abu Jayed, Ariful Haque, Nazmul Islam, Nurul Hasan, Mehidy Hasan, Liton Das
Pitch and conditions
There was rain around for the last game and the forecast for Wednesday isn’t ideal, which might mean another truncated game. The pitch is likely to remain the same, mostly batting-friendly.
Stats and trivia
Kusal Mendis has scored four fifties in five matches, in which he has made 246 runs at an average of 49.20 in 2018.
Wednesday 14 March 2018
Start time 19:00 local (13:30 GMT)