Indian players Shreyas Iyer (right) and Manish Pandey return after a practice session ahead in Rajkot on Wednesday. Associated Press
After suffering a crushing defeat in the national capital, the young Indian team will look to bounce back when they face Bangladesh in the second T20I on Thursday at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
Last Sunday, Bangladesh beat India by seven wickets in the series opener, chasing down a modest target of 149 with ease. It was their first victory over India in the shortest format.
For India, it will be about coming out with an improved performance in all the three departments. Their batting unit, which boasts of having the likes of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Lokesh Rahul, came out with a below-par performance and could manage only 148 at the Arun Jaitley Stadium.
The bowling was also not upto the mark and apart from Yuzvendra Chahal, none of the Indian bowlers could create pressure on the Bangladeshi batsmen.
When it came to fielding, there were many glitches in that department too. In fact, the catch dropped by Krunal Pandya to hand Mushfiqur Rahim another life was one of the turning points in the game.
So, pressure is bound to be on the Indian side to make a comeback. Rohit is on the brink of becoming the first man from his country to play 100 T20I internationals.
Rohit will join Shoaib Malik of Pakistan (111) and Indian women’s cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur (100) in becoming only the third cricketer to play 100 international matches in the shortest format of the game.
“Pressure is just on the team to perform, as simple as that. Not a particular department. You’ve lost as a team, you’ve not lost as a bowling unit. So the focus will be on the team,” Rohit told reporters on the eve of the second match.
“The batsmen need to get the job done, the bowlers need to come out and take those crucial wickets. That will be the idea. We are not focusing on any individual departments. Because we lost as a team, not as individuals,” he added.
The Indian skipper also hinted of changing the pace attack at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
“Our batting looks good. So I don’t think there’s any change we need to make in our batting. But we’ll analyze the pitch, and based on that we’ll see what we can do as a team,” Rohit said.
“The (pace-bowling) combination that we played in the last game, it was based on the pitch that was on offer in Delhi. We will see the pitch again today and we will think what we need to do in our bowling line-up,” he added.
Meanwhile, for the visitors, it would be all about continuing with the performance they put up in the opening game amid conditions which were far from ideal for a cricket match.
Skipper Mahmudullah said that a win for the team in their upcoming second T20I against India would be a big boost for the sport in the country.
“If you concentrate on the recent (developments), whatever is going on in Bangladesh cricket, a series win will be a big boost for Bangladesh cricket and also a big boost for the Bangladesh cricket team,” Mahmudullah said at a press conference on the eve of the match.
“And hopefully as I have mentioned, tomorrow we have to play good cricket to beat India because we know that they are a good side at home and across the world, so we have to be on our top from the first ball.”
The Bangladesh bowlers, particularly the spinners, kept the Indian batters in check at all times and Mahmudullah would hope they do the same in Rajkot. In batting, Soumya Sarkar and Mohammad Naim both came out with decent performances and built the foundation for Mushfiqur to unleash himself in the latter stage of the game.
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