India opts to bat against Bangladesh, Quarterfinal 2

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Melbourne: India eye semi-final sport and their real title defence starts with a quarter-final clash against a confident Bangladesh in the ICC Cricket World Cup.

 India (Playing XI): Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni(w/c), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Mohit Sharma

Bangladesh (Playing XI): Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Soumya Sarkar, Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim(w), Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Mashrafe Mortaza(c), Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed

Dhoni: ‘We will bat first. Big match, put the runs on the board. Everyone is fit. Well a lot. What this unit has done is bowl in the right areas. We have to do this in the Test arena as well. There is scope of improvement. Not reall, every team that has reached the quarterfinal is a good side.’

Mashrafe Mortaza: ‘Definitely we are proud and hopefully we will give our best today. We would have batted first as well. Only one change, I come in place of Taijul. I am fit and will give everything. Rubel and Taskin are bowling over 142kph and hopefully they to that today as well.’

Toss time: India won the toss and have elected to bat first

This pitch was used recently for the Sri Lanka and Bangladesh game. Even covering of grass. It’s a perfect bat first pitch.

This is Bangladesh’s 300th ODI and also the first time they will be featuring in a knock-out match in the World Cup. They played India in their 100th (2004) and 150th ODI (2007), winning both games. Apart from this they also won their 200th and 250th one day game against West Indies and Zimbabwe as well.

Despite a sunny morning, there was a high or 70 percent chance of showers in the afternoon, according to the Australian government’s Bureau of Meteorology.

Though there is a high probability of rain or thunderstorm interrupting the quarterfinal clash.

The in-form Mahmudullah (344 runs) might pose some problems for India’s bowlers after his back-to-back centuries against England at Adelaide and against New Zealand in Hamilton in their last league game.

Bangladesh’s real problem could be their bowling.  Mashrafe and Rubel can be skiddy customers but it is not proved that they can keep up their consistency match after match. Also none among the Bangladeshi bowlers have had number of victims in double digits.

Player by player, India are quite a few notches above their opposition. Bangladesh will be hoping dearly that their formidable opposition have a bad day in office which they can cash in.

Call it irony but Bangladesh unwittingly made a contribution towards ICC trying out this current format in World Cup after they shocked India in the 2007 edition in a round robin match at Port of Spain.

The initial momentum that they seized after crushing Pakistan in the first game stayed with them throughout the league phase.

India with their power-packed performance throughout the past one month have emerged as worthy contenders for retaining the Cup alongside former champions Australia and co-hosts New Zealand.

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