Team Tigers and Team India on level at 1-1 would appear for the series decider at Nagpur on 10 November. Bangladesh surprised India in the series opener at New Delhi beating them by 7 wickets .India bounced back at Rajkot winning by 8 wickets. This makes the series decider a very intriguing tussle.
In matters of form, fitness and experience as well as home advantage India is well ahead .But given the youthful exuberance and fearless cricket of new generation Bangladesh is expected leaving nothing unturned. If Bengal tigers can keep cool and composed a mouth watering contest is expected.
Two teams played two matches with unchanged teams. Bangladesh played without captain and star all rounder Shakib Al Hasan, champion opening batsman Tamim Iqbal and blooming all rounder Mohammad Saifuddin. India was without Virat Kohli , Jasprit Bumrah and MS Dhoni. Both teams included few young players to test their temperament with an eye to the T20 world scheduled for later part of 2020.
In smoky Indian capital visibility became poor. Players struggled to breadth freely. Bangladesh missing the services of three top players had nothing to loose. It was a milestone match being the 1000 the T20 international. For Bangladesh it was another milestone. Playing their 9 the T20 against India Bangladesh created a major surprise winning the match easily by 7 wickets. Winning the toss and electing to field all Bangladesh bowlers bowled with a purpose. Shafiul struck the first blow removing star Indian batsman captain Rohit Sharma in the very first over with a deceptive in swinger swinging late. He and Al Amin bowling on the corridor of uncertainty kept Shikhar Dhawan and Sresh Iyer guessing before young leg spinner Aminul deceived Iyer with half tracker leg spin that gripped and came a bit slow at the bat. In the meantime Dhawan never looked set and ran himself out for a misunderstanding with Pant. Aminul and Affif kept Indian middle order honest. Riad used as many as 7 bowlers. India could post 148/6 only due to some lusty hitting by Sundar and Pandya .
Many thought that this target may also test the young Bangladesh team. The thoughts got intense when Liton left in the first over. But a very impressive debutant Mohammad Naim playing some delectable strokes in his very first innings settled the nerves .Otherwise flamboyant Soumya also looked composed. This pair set an ideal platform before Naim trying one stroke too many failed.
Soumya and Mushfique went about their task. Brave Mushfique was a little bit fortunate as Pant or the team did not ask for reviewing a pretty adjacent LBW shout. Fortune favours the brave. The pair guided Bangladesh to a winning position. Playing many typical adventurous strokes Mushfique took Bangladesh across the rope with captain Mahmudullah his winning partner. Bangladesh rode into history winning by 7 wickets. Indian pride was rocked and rolled.
For the first time Bangladesh shaped up well for wrapping up the series with back to back win. A depression in the Bay of Bengal threatened the match at Rajkot. Fortunately the storm by passed the venue with heavy rain on the night before the match . But the match day was sunny and dry.
Two teams fielded unchanged units. The surface looked a batsman’s paradise. Rohit winning the toss decided to field. Bangladesh openers made rollicking start with young Naim again playing some great looking strokes . Liton also joined the party .60 runs were scored in the opening partnership when a brain freeze caused Liton losing his wicket. He was given a reprieve a few minutes before he ran himself out. Wicket keeper Punt messed up an easy stumping opportunity holding the ball infront of the wicket before dislodging the bails. Liton danced Miles down the wicket. Bangladesh innings lost the momentum as Mushfique lost his wicket for getting too cheeky too early. Naim also failed to convert his impressive start. None but captain Mahmudullah could hold their nerves. Even captain could not convert a good start to something substantial. 153 /6 on an easy paced wicket was never going to test strong Indian batting line up. Bangladesh batsmen fell to very tight purposeful bowling of India. The target was at least 30 short to be considered competitive.
Prolific Indian openers blasted Bangladesh attack all over the park. Effervescent Rohit brutally savaged the bowling with a 43 ball unbeaten 85. Though Aminul managed removing Rohit and Dhwan yet it was too little to late. India won by 8 wickets. The series was leveled 1-1.
The third match at Nagpur is now expected to be a belter. Bangladesh has little to loose. None expected them to win the series with a depleted side that was rocked with some unfortunate developments over the past few weeks. Yet playing brilliant cricket they created a situation for a series win. That possibility has still not evaporated. Bangladesh can still shock India if they can hold their nerves and pull out another comprehensive package. But it will not be a piece of cake. They have to bat, bowl and field well. History will beacon them if they can really make it. But for that senior players must lead from the front and younger players perform. A series win will take Bangladesh cricket to new heights. We would suggest for including Arafat Sunny in place of one less seamier. Bangladesh need some experience in bowling attack.
BDST: 1418 HRS, NOV 09, 2019