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RAJKOT: Having lost the first game, India will be aiming hard to make a comeback in the second of three T20 International clashes against Bangladesh at the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) ground on Thursday.
With the possibility of Cyclone Maha hitting the Gujarat coast, Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) officials are keeping their fingers crossed hoping the threat will not be severe.
As expected, heavy rains with strong winds lashed the city for more than half an hour on match eve, leaving the outfield absolutely wet.
In anticipation of this cyclonic weather, the pitch had been covered in the afternoon. “We are expecting light showers tomorrow morning too,” said Niranjan Shah, the former BCCI secretary.
The Indian team, however, practised as usual here in the afternoon while the visitors had their nets in the morning.
The Indian bowling line-up is a matter of some concern, especially speedster Khaleel Ahmed, who conceded 37 runs off four overs and was slammed for four successive boundaries in the penultimate over by Mushfiqur Rahim at the Ferozeshah Kotla as Bangladesh won by seven wickets.
The visitors are full of confidence following the manner which they won the opening match. In the absence of two important senior players, Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hassan, Mushfiqur Rahim took charge in Delhi, staying unbeaten to guide his team home in Bangladesh’s first ever T20 International win over India. Bangladesh leg-spinners Aminul Islam and speedster Shafiul Islam bowled exceptionally well in the opener and might play a key role in containing the Indian batsmen once again.
India have not had the kind of success in T20 Internationals as they have had in the other formats, and that is reflected in the rankings too. The side is ranked No. 5 in the T20 rankings, compared to No. 1 in Tests and No. 2 in ODIs.
They have already lost a T20 series at home this year – to Australia – before drawing against South Africa. India are missing some of their key contributors, like usual skipper
, Bhuvneshwar Kumar,
and Hardik Pandya, making this series an ideal platform to blood youngsters.
All this, however, will depend on how much of an impact Cyclone Maha, which is expected to make landfall in Gujarat on match day, has on the game.
India: Rohit Sharma
(Capt.), Khaleel Ahmed, Yuzvendra Chahal, Deepak Chahar, Rahul Chahar, Shikhar Dhawan, Shivam Dube, Shreyas Iyer,
, K L Rahul,
, Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur
Riyad (Capt.), Taijul Islam, Mohammad Mithun, Liton Kumer Das, Soumya Sarker, Naim Sheikh, Mushfiqur Rahhim, Afif Hossain, Mosaddek Hossain Saikat, Aminul Islam Biplob, Arafat Sunny, Abu Hider, Al-Amin Hossain,
and Shafiul Islam