India vs Bangladesh 2nd T20I Preview: Nobody would’ve seen this coming. No Shakib Al Hasan, no Tamim Iqbal, no Mohammad Saifuddin and a host of off-field issues to deal with, Bangladesh came into this series with a lot on their plate. Add to this, the rising pollution levels in Delhi which put the match in jeopardy as well.
Also, the fact that they had never beaten India in a T20I ever before. Despite the absence of skipper Virat Kohli and a few key players, India were overwhelming favourites to clinch the series. In fact, a clean sweep was predicted.
Not one thing worked as predicted. The game in Delhi was supposed to be abandoned due to the increasing pollution levels. It didn’t. It was expected that Bangladesh would crumble in the absence of key players and with all the off-field issues. They didn’t. Even after scoring 148, India were tipped favourites to defend the score and go 1-0 up. But they didn’t.
It was a game of many firsts for Bangladesh. It was not only their first-ever T20I win against India, it was also their first win against India in India in any format. On a tacky pitch, they were excellent with the ball. Barring the last two overs when they conceded a few boundaries, the Bangladeshi bowlers never allowed India to get away. And in their chase, they kept their cool.
148 looked like a par score on that pitch but Bangladesh held their nerve really well. Yes, they did have their share of luck with Mushfiqur Rahim surviving two LBW decisions which India didn’t opt to review and also the drop catch in the 18th over that turned the tide. It helped him and Bangladesh bury those ghosts from 2016 (World T20 Super 10 game) when they lost when two runs were required from three balls.
Moreover, Mahmudullah’s captaincy was refreshing as well. He made some bold calls but each and every one of them were tactical and most of them worked as well.
As far as India are concerned, they were outplayed by a Bangladesh side that was better on the day. However, they do have their own set of issues. The batting lacked intent. Yes, the pitch wasn’t the best to bat on but they have been playing T20s as a shortened version of an ODI game which has cost them. Most batsmen got starts but barring Shreyas Iyer, none of them looked fluent.
With the ball, the spinners did their job. Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar were excellent but the pacers travelled the distance. Khaleel Ahmed leaked a lot of runs at the death and it was the penultimate over that he bowled that turned the game (where he conceded four boundaries). After a disappointing outing, he might be swapped with Shardul Thakur.
The battle between Rahim and Chahal was a very intriguing one. The Bangladesh wicket-keeper batsman looked all at sea at the start of Chahal’s spell. But he came well to target the leg-spinner at the death. However, Chahal should’ve had Rahim at least three times in that first game – two LBW calls which weren’t reviewed and a drop catch.
Bangladesh will be riding high on confidence after their win in the first T20I. Despite that, India will start this game as favourites. There is no doubt that they will be under pressure but you can expect them to bounce back. If the first game in Delhi was under the threat of air pollution, the second one in Rajkot is under the threat of cyclone ‘Maha’. According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). Gujarat is expected to experience ‘heavy or very heavy rains’ over the next couple of days.
Will be updated soon.