PUNE: It has been a week of upsets at the ICC World Cup 2023. First, it was Afghanistan toppling defending champions England to register their first win against a full member in the history of ODI World Cups and then it was Netherlands doing the same against the mighty South Africans. Coming to think of it, if Bangladesh beat India on Thursday in Pune, it should not qualify as an ‘upset’. In the last four encounters between the two sides, Bangladesh have won three. They were the only team to beat in the Asia Cup last month. But Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusingha still believes India start as favourites.
He is well aware that India rested as many as five of their first XI players when Bangladesh beat them in that inconsequential Asia Cup match and their other two wins came in Mirpur, which is nothing short of a fortress for Bangladesh. He knows it is going to be a different ball game in a World Cup match.
“The first one is that we have had success in the recent past against India, but then when you come to the World Cup it’s a very different game altogether. As I said, we are hoping that we will have a complete game against them, that we need to perform to our potential and India is probably the in-form team this World Cup and if they have not so good game and if we play to our potential, I think it’s going to be a good game for us and we are capable of doing that. We have proved it so that confidence and that memory is going to serve us well to start [well] at the start. So, we need to start well,” he said on the eve of the match.
When asked to talk about the strengths of the Indian side, Hathurusingha said the brand of cricket that India are playing in this World Cup is “scary”.
“I think every area they have covered. They got strike bowlers upfront. Bumrah is almost come to his best as good as we have seen in the past. And they have good spinners, experienced spinners going in the middle overs. And their batting, especially the top order is firing and it’s scary the way they are playing at this stage without much fear and it looks like they are enjoying their cricket at the moment and their home World Cup and there is a lot of support. So, I think overall it’s a really good team,” he said.
India have beaten Australia, Afghanistan and Pakistan by displaying ruthless performances. In all these matches, they fielded first and restricted the opposition to a below-par total before the batters led by a breathtaking Rohit Sharma went out there to make light work of the target.