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Cricket World Cup: India v Bangladesh – QF 2 Preview

India have sailed through their six games at the Cricket World Cup thus far largely untested.  It’s a position of varying important depending on which way you look at it.  It’s either a sign of quality cricket, or its a sign that they haven’t been challenged enough, lack tough game practice and could slip up when the tournament gets interesting.

The opposite is true for Bangladesh.  Almost every game they have played has had the intensity of a knockout game.  In particular, their last two matches against England and New Zealand will have them well prepared for a tough Melbourne encounter against the tournament’s defending champions.

India look better in every department, however, Bangladesh will take solace from the fake they have already felled a giant in the 2015 World Cup, are relatively familiar with their Indian opponents and appeared comfortable outside of their home conditions for the first time in their short international playing career.

A semi-final in Sydney against the winner of the Pakistan / Australia quarter beckons for today’s winner.

The Last Time These Two Met

The BCCI rarely supports a series featuring their national team against Bangladesh, therefore, the teams haven’t met in an ODI for some time.  When they did, in June 2014, India ran out series winners by 2-0.

Tournament form may give a better indication of where the teams are at.  India are undefeated in six World Cup games; their biggest challenge coming from their final pool game against Zimbabwe.  Bangladesh won three of their Pool games with one match washed out.

The Teams

India (likely): 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Ajinkya Rahane, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Mohit Sharma, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Umesh Yadav

India are unlikely to disturb a well-settled and well-performed team unless absolutely necessity defines.

Bangladesh (likely): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Imrul Kayes, 3 Soumya Sarkar, 4 Mahmudullah, 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 7 Sabbir Rahman, 8 Arafat Sunny/Nasir Hossain, 9 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 10 Rubel Hossain, 11 Taskin Ahmed

Mashrafe Mortaza was rested / injured against New Zealand, but he should return to lead the side.  The only other question mark is over the number 8 spot between Arafat Sunny and Nasir Hossain.  Nasir grabbed two late wickets against New Zealand and would strengthen the batting.  He would be our pick.

The Key Players

Mohammed Shami – In a team full of world class batsman it seems strange picking a seamer as the key player.  Shami, though, has been a key component of India’s success in the tournament, taking 15 wickets.  Against Bangladeshi batsman that push hard at the ball early in their innings and get unsettled by steep bounce, Shami’s one-two, short ball / full ball combo might be too much.  The Bangladesh top order looked susceptible against the New Zealand quicks and we thing Shami will enjoy boring to them too.

Mahmudullah – His two back to back World Cup centuries were equally as impressive in their proximity to each other, as they were to the manner in which they were scored.  After waiting 16 years for a World Cup century from one of their batsman, Bangladesh suddenly had two in four days, and both courtesy of the Mahmudullah.  While the consecutive centuries were a novelty, the way they were composed was anything but.  Mahmudullah scored his runs maturely, responsibly and attractively.  His approach to holding an innings together is something the Tigers have missed for years, but a trait that could serve them well today.

The Match Odds*

India – $1.14

Sri Lanka – $5.75

The Prediction

India’s ability to bully Bangladesh in the past is well known.  The passive bowling attack is exactly the type of fodder the destructive Indian batsman love to feast on.  There’s no fear.  We think that’s the reason they’ll get the better of the Tigers.  India by 70 runs or 5 wickets.

The Best Bets*

Mushfiqur has been in decent form in the tournament but has been overshadowed by Mahmadullah.  He’s at $6.50 to Top Score and a big chance.

Suresh Raina is coming off a hundred against Zimbabwe.  How about hime to top score and India to win t $8.50.

Thinking left field, what if India win toss, send Bangladesh in and bowl them out (they have taken 60 wickets in 6 games).  In fact either team to be bowled out in the first innings is paying $5.40.  Could be down to pure luck, but great money.

*Taken from Sportsbet.

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