India bounced back from their loss to England as they beat Bangladesh by 28 runs at Edgbaston to seal their spot in the semi-finals of the World Cup. Here are our talking points from this fixture between the two Asian rivals in Birmingham.
Tamim Iqbal drops Rohit Sharma early in his innings
This was an effective must-win game for Bangladesh following England’s victory over India a couple of days ago. Tigers skipper Mashrafe Mortaza would’ve preferred to bat first, but his opposite number Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to take first guard.
Bangladesh needed to be at their best in the field to keep India to a moderate score. Unfortunately, with Rohit just on 9, Tamim Iqbal dropped a straightforward chance in the deep off Mustafizur Rahman. Rohit, who has a fantastic record against Bangladesh, went on to score a century that would form the cornerstone of India’s imposing 314.
This was the fourth time in the tournament that Sharma was given a life while still in single digits, and on every occasion, he’s made the opposition pay, with three centuries and a half century to his tally instead of four single digit scores.
India through to semis; Bangladesh officially knocked out
The result made India the second team to qualify for the semi-finals after Australia and ended Bangladesh’s slim hopes of making it to the last four. If Australia lose to South Africa in their final game of the tournament, India can finish top with a victory over Sri Lanka.
The last two semi-final spots are now between England, New Zealand and Pakistan. A victory for England today will ensure their progress into the semis, and almost certainly New Zealand’s as well (superior NRR for the Black Caps compared to Pakistan)
Bangladesh need a specialist 140+ quick in their ranks
Bangladesh’s pacers, bar Mustafizur Rahman, weren’t quite at the races today. Mashrafe and Rubel’s struggles with the ball meant they had to depend on part timer Soumya Sarkar for five overs. A quality 140+ quick- in the Bumrah, Rabada, Boult or Starc mould would make Bangladesh a far more threatening side. Bumrah essentially ended their chase with two fine yorkers that took out Nos 10 and 11- the Tigers lacked such quality in their ranks.
India’s middle order stumbles again
At 180/0 in 29 overs, India would’ve expected to get somewhere around 330-350. Unfortunately, they could only drag themselves to 314/9, with the last ten overs only seeing 63 runs scored. Pant did well at 4, but Hardik and Dinesh Karthik both fell cheaply, and MS Dhoni struggled to get going.
If India don’t have one of their top three at the crease at the 40 over mark, they tend to struggle to accelerate in the final 10.
India opt for 3 pacers and Karthik- what will be their team composition going forward?
India took a bit of a risk today, opting to field all three of their pacers and moving from their tried and tested combination of two spinners. Including Dinesh Karthik at the expense of Kedar Jadhav also reduced their bowling options- it meant Hardik had to bowl his full quota. He did so with aplomb today, but against better sides, India might need bowling insurance if one of their designated bowlers has an off day.
Rishabh Pant’s confident performances with the bat have probably earned him a spot, and it’s probably too late in the tournament to introduce Mayank Agarwal. The only questions with the selectors- persist with Karthik and this three pacer combination going forward, or go back to two spinners and have Kedar as an insurance in the middle order?