Mirpur (Bangladesh), June 23 (IANS) As the words ‘whitewash’ and ‘minnows no more’ are making rounds in Dhaka and around the country, India head into the third and inconsequential One-Day International tie against Bangladesh on Wednesday looking to salvage some pride and respect.
What many experts had written off as a cakewalk for the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led cricket team did not turn out to be so, as after a rain-washed Test match the visitors lost the first two ODIs to hand Bangladesh their first ever series victory.
In the first ODI, all was well for the team in blue as they were on track to chase down Bangladesh’s 307 but with 95 for no loss, host skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza played his trump card as he brought in 19-year-old left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman. With his pace and swing, Mustafizur demolished the famed Indian batting line-up – India were skittled out for 228 in 46 overs.
Mustafizur again was the chief demolisher as he picked up figures of 6/43 from his 10 overs in the second ODI to restrict India to the total of a mere 200. The lanky pacer bowled brilliantly, mixing up his deliveries so that the batsman would not be able to guess his pace and that way he outfoxed both Dhoni and Axar Patel.
The batting department too for Bangladesh has looked solid, to say the least. The opening pair of Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar along with al-rounder Shakib Al Hasan has all played its part to get the better of the Indian bowlers.
On the other hand, even though the top order for the visitors contributed in the first ODI, there has been no stability in the middle-order with prolific right-hander Virat Kohli scoring just one and 23 in two innings, and the likes of Ajinkya Rahane and Ambati Rayadu, who were given a game each, also failing to live up to their potential.
Head-to-head, Bangladesh have won just five of 31 encounters but in this series it has been the underdogs who have called the shots.
With the win in the previous match, Bangladesh have already qualified for the 2017 Champions Trophy and would now try to seal an emphatic whitewash of India which will place them in the history books for sure.
However, it might just not be that easy as India would not give up without a fight and showing their neighbours that they still are the big daddies of world cricket. Even though it is a dead rubber, the match promises to be an engaging contest.
Bangladesh squad: Mashrafe Bin Mortaza (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Arafat Sunny, Taskin Ahmed, Rubel Hossain, Rony Talukdar, Mustafizur Rahman, Liton Das.
India squad: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohit Sharma, Dhawal Kulkarni, Stuart Binny, Axar Patel.