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IND vs BAN: Why India need to make the most of their clash with Bangladesh

Rohan Raj | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 6:02 IST

After bouncing back with a crunch win over arch-rivals Pakistan, MS Dhoni-led India will be eager to carry on their winning momentum when they take on a depleted Bangladesh side in the Super 10, Group 2 clash at the M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru, on 23 March.

Also read: 'Injustice' to Bangladesh remains the focus in Group 2 tie

Mashrafe Mortaza's men are on the verge of crashing out after losing both their games against Pakistan and Australia in the tournament, while the ICC's ban on two of their prominent bowlers has clearly rubbed salt in their wounds.

Also read: Who'll make the semi-finals cut? Here's your answer

On the other hand, the Indian team made a sensational comeback after their loss to New Zealand in the tournament opener, but Dhoni's men have a huge task on their hands in today's game against the Bangla boys.

Team India cannot afford to take the Bangla boys lightly, especially at a time when they desperately need to boost their Net Run-Rate (NRR) which could play a crucial role in deciding the semi-finals spot.

The two teams have never met in a T20 International on Indian soil. In fact, their limited-overs match in India dates back to 1998. And while Bangladesh are desperate to avoid an unenviable 0-4 Super 10 record, the Indian team seeks two points to keep pace with the other teams in an already congested Group 2.

As the two teams gear up to lock horns at a packed Chinnaswamy stadium today, here's a look at some of the talking points:

Indian opening pair needs to fire

<a href=Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma_Hannah Peters/Getty Images">

Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

In the shortest version of the game, where a good opening start can surely pave way for the middle-order to accelerate the innings, the Indian opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan has struggled for quite some time now.

In the two games India have played in World T20 so far, the Indian opening pair has managed a grand total of 19 runs - five against New Zealand and 14 against Pakistan. Barring the Asia Cup clash against Pakistan where Ajinkya Rahane partnered Sharma, the preferred pair has opened in nine of the last 10 T20 Internationals for India, managing to score just 186 runs for the first wicket.

Their best opening stand came against Sri Lanka where the duo gave a 75-run stand to India at Ranchi on 12 February. Individually too, the openers have been consistently inconsistent. While Dhawan's highest in the last five matches is 60, Sharma has only managed a modest 39.

It's do-or-die for Raina

Suresh Raina_PTI

Photo: PTI

Suresh Raina has been a vital cog for the Indian middle-order in limited-overs cricket. The southpaw is a sweet timer of the ball and capable of playing big shots in accordance to the match situations. His unbeaten 72 against Zimbabwe in the second T20 International against Zimbabwe in 2010 was also crucial in India's win.

It was also the last time that Raina posted a 50-plus score in the shortest format for India. It has since been 41 matches, 33 innings and 695 runs at an average of 27.80 without even a half-century.

This year, after playing a match-winning 49 against Australia in the third T20 International in January, Raina has struggled on all fronts. His last seven T20Is scores read: 20, 30, 13, 1, 25, 1, 0. That's 90 runs at an average of 12.85 and a strike-rate of 105.88.

Reading the conditions

M Chinnaswamy stadium_File Photo/PTI

Photo: File Photo/PTI

The Chinnaswamy stadium is known to produce batting wickets but in the two World T20 games played here, the slow bowlers, especially spinners, have found the much-needed assist from the track.

Both India and Bangladesh will have to read the pitch properly to decide whether they want to go in with an extra spinner for today's match. If the wicket continues to support spin, Dhoni could surely use the much-hyped Pawan Negi who is yet to play in the tournament.

First published: 23 March 2016, 5:12 IST
Rohan Raj @ro4an_raj

After a poor stint in gully-cricket quashed his hopes of turning pro, Rohan moved away from the playing field and began criticising those who were still on it. Football eases his mind and watching City paint Manchester blue is his elusive dream. When not talking, thinking or dreaming about sports, Rohan can be found listening to EDM or watching movies. A sports correspondent at Catch News, he has previously worked with Hindustan Times, Daily Bhaskar and India Today.