After England’s win over India, this match is a must-win for Bangladesh. They must win this and beat Pakistan, and hope that New Zealand do the right thing by Bangladesh and beat England. Anything less than that and Bangladesh are out. The awful thing for Bangladesh is that they could win this game – indeed, they could win both – and still not make it. Cricket can be a cruel mistress sometimes. As for India, they don’t need to win this one at all, as they are almost certainly going to make the semi-finals even if they lose all of their last matches, but they will want to, especially after the humiliation of their loss to England, where some Indian fans claimed that India, or at least MS Dhoni, deliberately lost.
A good old baseless match fixing accusation is more than enough motivation for a big win. When they met in their warm-up match India won very, very easily. Also, England beat Bangladesh easily then India beat England. The only thing Bangladesh have going for them is the form of Shakib al Hasan, who has single-handedly won Bangladesh 3 matches, winning the man of the match award in all 3. Any hopes that Bangladesh have of winning this match rely on Shakib al Hasan.
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Five Fearless Predictions:
(1) Shakib al Hasan will fail
With the weight of the world, or at least his country, on his shoulders, knowing that if he fails then Bangladesh’s slim chances of winning this match, and slimmer chances of qualifying for the semi-finals are all but over. It’s too much. It’s just too much for one little guy to handle. He’s had a great tournament but there’s no way he can handle that much pressure. Nobody can. Well, perhaps Brian Lara or Sachin Tendulkar or Don Bradman could. Few can handle this pressure. Is Shakib big enough to handle it? I don’t think so. If he does, then well done to him, but I am not picking it. It’s too much to expect.
(2) Rohit Sharma will hit a big one
He surprised me by getting through England’s bowling attack and coming through unscathed, while I would have thought that Bangladesh would be a better opponent for him. Given that he could get through England in what was a very good performance, I think he can go bigger against Bangladesh.
(3) Jasprit Bumrah will get a bag
He has been overshadowed by Mohammad Shami of late, in terms of the wicket tally at least, but he is still easily India’s best bowler, and a bag of wickets is waiting for him.
(4) India will get a lot of runs
While the big score relies on India batting first, I had said pre-tournament that this is the best chance for any team to score 400+, and that’s the kind of total I think we will get from India. After their go-slow against England, they have something to prove here. If they don’t get 400, they’ll get close, but I think they’ll go all the way here and make a statement. If Bangladesh bat first, of course, then they’ll just have to score quickly, perhaps at 8 per over, to make a slightly smaller statement. I think this is the game they will want to show to their fans, and to the other teams, and most importantly to themselves that they can still go big, that they’ve still got it.
(5) India will win
It goes without saying that India should win. While an upset here is romantic, and certainly Bangladesh have beaten India before, there is simply no momentum to suggest it. If England had lost to India, perhaps Bangladesh had a chance, as they’d be hopeful, especially if Afghanistan had beaten Pakistan, but now everything seems to be going against them and, with India having something to prove, I think that they will make a big statement here.