India and Bangladesh meet again for the third time, this time, with the series on the line, at the Vidarbha Cricket Stadium in Nagpur.
It was deputising captain Rohit Sharma who inspired the ‘Men in Blues’ with a swashbuckling 85 from just 43 balls at the 2nd T20I in Rajkot, after Bangladesh stunned the hosts in Delhi.
This has been a topsy-turvy Twenty20 International series, with Bangladesh at times competitive and at times dominant in the first two T20Is.
The fielding, in particular, has been sloppy from both teams and the relative lack of experience in the bowling attacks has been evident.
The series-deciding third T20I could hinge on the fielding and bowling displays from both teams, whose batsmen have so far been integral to their team’s wins.
INDIA : W L L W W
BANGLADESH : L W W W L
India produced a no-nonsense display with the bat and will be motivated to stamp their authority on the series.
While there was still plenty of room for improvement in the field and some wayward bowling by Khaleel Ahmed at times, they were dominant for a large part of the game and once Rohit clicked into gear, they never looked like losing.
That win will give them the confidence to kick on now and it is hard to see how Bangladesh will be able to match them now they have hit their stride.
The Rajkot win might have boosted their confidence and several pieces too fell into the place.
Rohit Sharma, the stand-in-skipper, is a not a big fan of chopping and changing the team often and one can expect him to retain the side.
However, left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed looked out of sorts at Delhi and Rajkot and the team management might weigh in the option of bringing Shardul Thakur in for Khaleel.
Otherwise, India also are likely to field Sanju Samson ahead of Shivam Dube.
Bangladesh slipped to defeat in the 2nd T2oI as they were pegged back in the series by the hosts, but they will not be too disheartened and will still take heart from the outstanding performance in the first match.
Batting first in Rajkot, they struggled to post a competitive score on what was seemingly a very good batting track, with none of their batsmen being able to convert their starts into a big score.
Their bowlers struggled largely, and were never able to apply any pressure due to the low target they posted so they cannot be blamed for not making greater inroads into the Indian top order.
They could go with an unchanged side for the decider.
After a tight effort in the first T20I at Kotla, Bangladesh wilted under the Rohit onslaught and their batsmen too floundered against on-the-spot Indian bowlers.
Bangladesh will expect some more contribution from senior pros like Mushfiqur Rahim, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, captain Mahmdullah and pacer Mustafizur Rahman. Their chances of a series win wholly depend on them.
India: Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant (wk), Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, Deepak Chahar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Khaleel Ahmed
Bangladesh: Liton Das, Mohammad Naim, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah (c), Afif Hossain, Mosaddek Hossain, Aminul Islam, Shafiul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Al-Amin Hossain
Both the teams have their own strengths and weaknesses, but at this stage, India appear as the favourites to go ahead and win the match and series. The Rajkot win might just have placed them in the right gear slot.
They have the all-important momentum with themselves, and Bangladesh will have to play out of their skins to win this.
Team CricWizz predicts an India win.