Bangladesh cricket team led by Mashrafe Mortaza face the daunting task of stopping the Indian Juggernaut during the final of Asia Cup 2016 on Sunday, March 6 under the lights at Mirpur Stadium.
The Men in Blue led by MS Dhoni have the chance to lift the Asia Cup and live up to the tag of ‘World T20 favourites’ as they have outplayed all other teams in this tournament quite convincingly.
Against Australia in Australia during the T20I series, against Sri Lanka at home and in the four games leading up to the finale on Sunday, India have played as a fine-tuned professional outfit, and consistently delivered the goods in crunch situations to come out on top.
Bangladesh team and its think-tank must be aware that there are countless instances in history when an inferior force managed to defeat a superior adversary by superior strategy and generalship. India are a superior side on paper, but they can be conquered. Here’s an avid Bangladesh supporter’s strategy to win the battle against the in-form Indian cricket team at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Mirpur.
Taskin Ahmed: He has to keep things simple, run in full steam and bowl fast. He has the pace to utilize the new, hard ball and must make life difficult for India batters. Taskin should primarily bowl short at the body, aim around the batsman’s armpit, and really crank it up a yard or two! With the batsman hopping and jumping, Taskin can bring the full swinging yorker into play. So it will be either at the armpit or the toes of batsmen for Taskin, with five fielders on the leg-side.
Al- Amin Hossain: He has the knack of hitting a lovely spot, slightly short of good length around off to entice the batsman to hit on the up. The movement off the deck with the new ball under the lights can bring the slip, point and gully fielders into play, but Al-Amin must build up pressure with the probing line outside off. At his pace, anything wide and short will not go unpunished by Rohit and co. At death overs, Al-Amin must mix up his deliveries with slower cutters, and swinging yorkers.
Mashrafe Mortaza: Captain Courageous can really use the new ball well, and should bowl that slightly short of good length around off early to get Indian batters playing on the up and edging the ball. During the middle overs or late in the innings, Mashrafe has the experience to use slower balls, off-cutters and seam-ups with the keeper standing up. He can frustrate batsmen at the death overs by denying them pace to play with.
Shakib Al Hasan: With the field spread out, Shakib can snare a wicket or two if batsmen take him on and try to clear the longest part of the ground. Shakib needs to be mentally fresh, so he can vary his pace subtly and keep the Indian batters on their toes. The ace allrounder must work out the angles at Mirpur with his captain so the easy singles can be prevented as much as possible.
Mahmudullah/Nasir Hossain: The fifth bowler’s quota must be filled by the batting allrounders in Bangladesh team. As slow bowlers, they must not allow Indian batsmen to swing their arms freely. No width, nothing short and target one side of the wicket.
Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar: Bangladesh openers, or at least one of them must take the attack to Nehra and Bumrah early to unsettle their line and length. Standing outside the crease, giving oneself some width, charging down the track or something must be done by the Bangladesh openers so the Indian new ball bowlers don’t settle down and dictate terms easily. Tamim or Soumya must not throw away their wickets recklessly, but play positively as much as possible.
Sabbir Rahman: Sabbir is in good form, and he must make it count against India. He should play the way he has been, for his innings management has improved leaps and bounds recently. Even if he plays a few dot balls early in his knock, Sabbir can more than make up for the measured start with quick runs in the end. He should take the attack to the Indian spinners, and deny the likes of Ashwin, Harbhajan and Jadeja their comfort zones. If he succeeds, it will throw a spanner in MS Dhoni’s works for sure.
Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim: Both of them look out of form, but being big-match players, they can come good with the bat on Sunday. Shakib needs clarity of focus, and concentrate on his own game, the things that have made him successful. He should go back to the basics, and keep batting as simple as possible. Mushy is going through a lean period, and keeps getting out at the worst possible time. He must rely on his instincts, and not be bogged down by the circumstances around him. Runs from Shakib and Mushy will do Bangladesh a world of good!
Mahmudullah: The elegant finisher of Bangladesh cricket team is in great touch, and can take on the task of dispatching Indian fast bowlers late in the innings. Mahmudullah can take heart from his performance against Pakistan, and should nullify Indian pacers with his wide range of shots, especially on the off.
In terms of fielding, Bangladesh cricketers must have the intensity and awareness against India as they did earlier against Pakistan…fighting tooth and nail for every inch of ground.
Go Tigers Go