When the Indian national cricket team, led by skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, will go into the third and final match against Bangladesh at the Shere Bangla Stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka, on Wednesday, their only goal will be to salvage some pride and avoid a rare clean sweep at the hands of a less-experienced team. After beating India in the first two one-day international (ODIs), Bangladesh has already sealed the three-match series with an indisputable 2-0 lead.
The young Bangladeshi team has outplayed the more experienced Indian side in almost every department of the game in the first two matches of the series. While the Indians will need to assess their weaknesses and plug all the loopholes to win the third ODI, the confident hosts will have to carry on with their current form to make it 3-0.
“There is no pressure, nobody told us ahead of the match that we will win this series 2-0. India also said that we have nothing to lose so now we will just come on the field and enjoy,” the Times of India quoted Mashrafe Mortaza, captain of the Bangladeshi side, as saying. “If we do that the result will be there. But we are not worried or thinking about a whitewash. We are just hoping to do our best.”
Fourteen of the 15 players in the Indian squad have had an outing in the first two ODIs. But none has been able to put up a match-winning performance so far. Although Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma had some decent shows, the overall performance of the Indian team has not lived up to expectations.
The Bangladeshis, on the other hand, have been brilliant on all counts. The team, which recently defeated Pakistan in a three-match series, would want to repeat history -- by thrashing the Indian team.
While the Bangladeshi batsmen have shown resilience and put up runs on the board, the bowling department has also impressed many, with young left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman creating history by picking two five-wicket hauls in the previous matches.
On Sunday, Rahman became only the second player to take five wickets in their first two ODIs after Brian Vitori from Zimbabwe. Rahman is also the first cricketer to have taken 11 wickets in their first two ODI matches.
“There are young people in this team who are breathing a different air,” Harsha Bhogle, a well-known Indian cricket commentator and journalist, wrote in a column published Monday on Starsports.com. “These youngsters are different… It is this young blood, that I believe overcame the misplaced obsession with wanting to look wronged after the World Cup.”
Expected Team Lineups
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni(c/w), Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Dhawal Kulkarni, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ambati Rayudu, Umesh Yadav, Mohit Sharma and Stuart Binny.
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Litton Das(w), Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Mashrafe Mortaza(c), Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Rony Talukdar, Arafat Sunny and Mominul Haque.
3:00 p.m. local time
2:30 p.m. IST
10:00 a.m. BST
5:00 a.m. EDT