Confident India aim to seal final berth today
Calcutta/Colombo: With back-to-back wins under their belt, India will look to register another victory on Wednesday when they face Bangladesh in the T20 tri-series in Colombo. This will be India's last group league game and a win for the Rohit Sharma-captained team will ensure them a place in the final without having to wait for the mathematical calculations.
Having suffered an unexpected defeat against Sri Lanka in their tournament-opener, India have made a strong comeback in the tournament. It is unlikely that India will experiment against a resurgent Bangladesh in their final league stage match.
Bangladesh's confidence has been boosted by their record 215-run chase against Sri Lanka and a win against India will bolster their chances of making it to the final. A defeat may not be end of the road for India as it will then depend on the outcome of final game between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Net run-rate will also be a factor.
India so far have a healthy net run-rate of +0.21.
For India, the tournament at the beginning was about giving youngsters a chance in the absence of seasoned players, but for a side which is always under scanner, results will be paramount and that effectively stops them from being adventurous in team selection
A few players such as Deepak Hooda, Mohammed Siraj, Akshar Patel are yet to play a game in the tournament, which means the purpose of sending a second string side has not been served. Hooda, for instance, did not get to play even during the home series against Sri Lanka.
For India the biggest worry is captain Rohit's form. One of India's most successful white ball players in recent times, the talented Mumbaikar is waiting for that one big knock that will propel him back to form.
India have not got good starts in the tournament despite Shikhar Dhawan's (153) good form as Rohit has been dismissed cheaply in all the matches. Suresh Raina has got his 20s while Manish Pandey has remained steady in the middle-order. Dinesh Karthik's 39 off 25 balls against Sri Lanka on Monday has ensured that Rishabh Pant will have to wait.
It will be interesting to see if Rohit promotes Lokesh Rahul to open the innings and himself comes down at No. 4 - something that he has done for Mumbai Indians in the IPL over the years. Rahul is a specialist opener, who is also used as a floater in the middle-order. He was looking far more comfortable than Pant during his short stay in the Monday's game before he was dismissed in a freak manner, getting hit-wicket.
More than the batsmen, the bigger challenge will be faced by the bowlers against an unpredictable batting line-up like Bangladesh.
IPL's costliest Indian buy, Jaydev Unadkat (Rs 11.5 crore), has been expensive in all three matches with the pacer not being able to finish his quota of four overs in two of the three games (1/35 in 3 overs vs SL, 3/38 in 4 overs vs B'desh, 1/33 in 3 overs vs SL). Unadkat's experience though will keep him in the playing XI.
Match starts: 7pm IST