Asia’s gradually emerging cricketing rivalry is set to write a new chapter on Sunday, when India and Bangladesh lock horns at the VCA Cricket Stadium, Nagpur in the first T20I series decider between the two countries.
While Bangladesh were clearly the better team on the field in the first match of the series at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi, India looked a completely different unit in the second match at Rajkot where they registered a convincing 8 wicket win and level the series 1-1.
However, here is what makes it interesting- while Bangladesh had won the toss and decided to field in the first T20I, India won the toss, opted to chase and marched past the Bangladesh total in the second T20I. On both these matches, the toss has played a crucial role in the result of the match.
Stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma has even gone on record stating that they would like to improve defending totals in T20 Internationals since they have not been pretty good at that. However, given that Bangladesh had already won the first match chasing, Rohit decided to not try the risky experiment but go back to their comfort zone of chasing totals in the second T20I at Rajkot.
It would have been a no brainer perhaps on other Indian grounds- win the toss and bowl first in the series decider- but on one of India’s rare bat-first wickets the VCA Cricket Stadium in Nagpur, where the large outfield and the pitch itself brings spin into play and where teams batting first have won eight out of 11 games so far, this could be a marginal call.
With a little bit of assistance for the spinners, both the teams will fancy their chances of a win- with both the teams having enough spin resources to trouble the opposition. Bangladesh, moreover, also have the services of Mustafizur Rahman an expert at executing the cutters.
On the other hand, India’s spin department will be headed by Yuzvendra Chahal, who was also impressive in the second T20I.
The spotlight will be on Shikhar Dhawan who has not been his fluent self in the shortest format of the game ever since he has been dropped from the Test side. Given that KL Rahul is a valuable option as a reserve opener and many youngsters are waiting for their turn, the pressure will be on Dhawan to produce a match-winning innings for the Men in Blue.
For Bangladesh, Mohammad Naim has been among the runs but has not managed them at a brisk pace and it remains to be seen if Bangladesh want to try a different opener in the decider.
However, the big questions are whether Bangladesh would be able to go past the Hitman Rohit Sharma who single-handedly took the second T20I away from them and whether India would find a way to win the pressure situations of a high-pressure game with a relatively inexperienced side.
Probable Playing XIs:
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Shivam Dube, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal
It could be a toss-up between Shardul Thakur and Khaleel Ahmed in the playing XI.
Bangladesh: Liton Das, Mohammad Naim, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah, Afif Hossain, Mosaddek Hossain, Aminul Islam, Shafiul Islam, Al-Amin Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman
Bangladesh may decide to go in with an extra spinner in Tajiul Islam if the wicket is on the slower side and may offer a bit to the spinners which is a characteristic of the Nagpur wicket. In that case, he is expected to replace Shafiul Islam in the XI.
There are injury concerns over Mustafizur Rahman and Mosaddek but there is no update on whether they have been ruled out for the Sunday’s game.
Last five matches
Live action starts from 7:00 pm (IST) onwards .