This was expected and predicted by us. Team India hit back in the second T20I of the 3-match series against Bangladesh and registered a thumping 8-wicket win at Rajkot. After losing the first game at Delhi, India really needed this win to not be completely embarrassed in front of their home crowd. With the series now level 1-1, the 3rd and final T20I on Sunday at Nagpur has been set up deliciously well as the decider.
After an insipid display in the first match, India showed a much more thorough approach in the second game. Lead by captain Rohit Sharma’s sparkling 85 off 43 balls, India chased down the target of 154 in just 15.4 overs. Shreyas Iyer’s brief cameo at No.4 (24* off 13 balls) again established how good a batsman he is for the middle-order. However, opener Shikhar Dhawan looked scratchy again and perhaps the time has come for the team to replace him at the top with a more aggressive batsman. His scratchy performance might hurt India in the final T20I.
India’s bowling has not been at its best. But leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal is in his elements and supported well by Washington Sundar and Deepak Chahar. Left-arm seamer Khaleel Ahmed continues to be expensive and if he plays the 3rd T20I, he is likely to be the weakest link for India.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh crumpled under pressure after starting confidently. Openers Liton Das and Mohammad Naim were good. But the middle-order failed. It appears as if Bangladesh is heavily dependent on Mushfiqur Rahim and captain Mahmudullah. These two would again have to be at the forefront in the final game as the others do look nonthreatening.
Bangladesh would also be worried about how their lead bowler Mustafizur Rahman (0-35 in 3.4 overs) was carted all around the park in the last match. Shafiul Islam, Al-Amin Hossain and Mosaddek Hossain were all punished. And the Bangladeshi bowling unit would have to put up a much better show in the 3rd ODI if they hope to put pressure on India.
Match prediction – India vs Bangladesh, 3rd T20I:
The Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur – the venue for the 3rd T20I between India and Bangladesh – is known to be a true batting surface. The pitch is generally good for batting but the seamers and spinners do have a say as well.
The last T20I played in Nagpur was a low-scoring affair between India and England in January 2017, that India won by 5 runs. The highest total achieved on this venue is 215-5 by Sri Lanka.
The average score batting first at Nagpur is 149. However, if India bats first, expect them to score in the range of 170-plus. The total number of runs scored in this game is expected to be between 300-320 runs.
While Bangladesh have shown promise, they do look pretty weak in the absence of Shakib-Al-Hasan and Tamim Iqbal. India, even though they are not at their best at the moment, are still ahead of Bangladesh. They are very strong at home and gave a glimpse of their strength in the last game. India are the likely winners of the 3rd T20I and should win the series 2-1.