One characteristic of the Bangladesh team that most will agree upon is that they are an emotional bunch, and performance often depends on whether they harness the emotion or their passions rule them. When they take on India in the Asia Cup Super Four match in Dubai today, it would be hard to imagine that it will not be an emotional affair. Not only do Bangladesh-India matches have a heated recent heritage, but in this particular tournament all other teams would have an axe to grind against India.
Bangladesh's tournament started in emotional fashion with Tamim Iqbal coming out to bat at number 11 in the opener against Sri Lanka with a fractured left hand in order to prolong the innings. Tamim then headed home because of the injury -- a major setback that is bound to affect the Tigers mentally.
They then learned on Wednesday morning that the Asian Cricket Council had virtually named them group runners-up with one match to play, making yesterday's first of two-back-to-back matches (in extreme heat) against Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi largely irrelevant. The sneaking suspicion among players and officials is that it was all done to accommodate India, who wanted to play all their matches in Dubai.
Therefore, at 5:30pm Bangladesh time, they will take to a field that they probably believe is not a level one. They will square off against an opponent against whom they will feel that they have a few wrongs to right. In March Bangladesh were denied their first tournament win by a last-ball six by India's Dinesh Karthik in the Nidahas Trophy in Colombo. In the 2016 World T20, the Tigers were one run away from knocking India out of the tournament but gave it away.
In the 2015 World Cup quarterfinal, they felt aggrieved when a catch off eventual centurion Rohit Sharma was disallowed because of a call of waist-high no ball.
Today, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and Co will have to cope with scant recovery time to take on their mighty opponents. They will be boosted by the returns of batsman Mushfiqur Rahim and pacer Mustafizur Rahman, who were rested yesterday, which probably means that Mominul Haque and Abu Hider Rony will make way.
From India's perspective, Bangladesh are the team that embarrassed them and knocked them out of the first round of the 2007 World Cup. Bangladesh are also the team that reached another level by beating the financial powerhouses of cricket 2-1 in Bangladesh following the 2015 World Cup. India also have injury worries -- Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel and Shardul Thakur have all been ruled out -- so they will have some disadvantages too.
But Bangladesh's lack of rest before an important match may prove decisive, unless they overcome any siege mentality and channel their frustration.