Millennium Post

Neighbours to lock horns at MCG

Neighbours to lock horns at MCG
India have reached the knockout rounds in unexpected ebullient form after their dismal win-less Test and one-day tour of Australia just prior to the World Cup to join New Zealand as the only unbeaten teams left in the marathon tournament.

It would be a considerable upset if ninth-ranked Bangladesh, who muddled through almost the entire last year beating only Zimbabwe in Tests or ODIs, can dethrone the champions. Bangladesh can count among their three wins in 28 ODI encounters against their neighbours an upset five-wicket win in the pool stages at the 2007 tournament in the West Indies.

Given the atmospherics and in the vast intimidating arena of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, it will be some effort from the Bangladeshis to repeat that, but they point out it is a one-off, there’s no second chance and things might fall in place. India have been transformed by the batting of Shikhar Dhawan (337 at 56.16) and Virat Kohli (301 at 75.25), while Mahendra Singh Dhoni has regained his touch as a clear-thinking finisher allied to his steely leadership.

India’s bowlers struggled for two months in Australia before the World Cup, but have dismissed the opposition in every single World Cup game so far, R Ashwin, Mohit Sharma and Umesh Yadav all into double figures of wickets.

Plenty in the Indian team are contributing and therein lies Bangladesh’s stiff task of pulling off their finest victory under the circumstances of a pressure sudden-death match at the MCG. “We have the same kind of pressure (as playing at home in the last World Cup). Irrespective of which team we play or which tournament we play, we are under pressure. The good thing, the boys are quite used to it. A few times, there have been instances where we are down, but from that position, also, we have come back strongly and we have done well,” Dhoni said.

“Everyone is excited about the game but as a professional unit we must focus on the task ahead. It’s a chance to show we are among the top teams,” said Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza.
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