Why Shouldn't India Take Bangladesh Lightly in World Cup 2023?
Bangladesh defeated India in Asia Cup 2023 [Twitter]
Traditionally, India have had much bigger rivalries against Australia and Pakistan, than what they currently have against Bangladesh, but somehow, someway, Bangladesh always tend to bring their best foot forward against the Indian team.
The rivalry is portrayed as the battle between David and Goliath, but recently 'David' or in a cricketing sense, Bangladesh has been the superior side and have constantly challenged India (at least in ODI cricket).
The two teams will square off against each other on Thursday, in the World Cup 2023 group stage match, and despite India entering the contest as the firm favourites, Bangladesh will be relatively confident, considering the fact that the Tigers recently won an ODI series against the Rohit-led Indian team.
As a result, the big question arises - Should India be worried about the Bangla challenge?
The big upset in 2007
Not the most pessimist of the Indian fans would have given Bangladesh a chance to stand against India, when the two teams met for the first time in World Cup 2007. On a track that perfectly favoured the spinners, the Bangladesh spin trio of Abdul Razzak, Mohammad Rafique, and Shakib Al Hasan ran riot as the Indian side were restricted to a mere 191, which was chased down with relative ease.
This was a historic night and it proved that no opposition is small, or should be taken lightly in cricketing perspective.
The next 3 World Cup editions (2011, 2015, 2019) saw India dominate the Bangla Tigers in a one-sided affair, but there was a minor hiccup in the 2015 Quarters, before Rohit Sharma resuced the stuttering Indian innings.
What if Rohit was dismissed early in that game against Bangladesh? Maybe the scenario would have been different for the Bangladesh team.
IND-BAN ODI record since 2015
Stats can be deceptive, but the head-to-head record between the two teams since World Cup 2015 tells an interesting story.
|Matches||IND have won||BAN have won|
|IND vs BAN Head to Head (in ODIs since 2015)||12||7||5|
Quite a close fought contests, considering the fact that Bangladesh are considered to be a weak opposition. Bangladesh have fought toe-to-toe against India, and it was proven when the two teams recently met in an ODI series in Bangladesh.
India had their full-fledged side, but the Tigers took an unassailable 2-0 lead before the dead-rubber was won by India.
Moreover, post the 2015 World Cup, India toured Bangladesh, and this time under the leadership of MS Dhoni, they were taken down by a spirited Bangladesh team.
India have always had the dominance over their neighbours in ICC tournaments, and it should continue in this edition of the World Cup as well. However, despite winning three games in a row in some style, the Indian side shouldn't take their opposition lightly. One lapse of concentration and things can take a U-turn for the Men in Blue, as happened in the 2007 WC and almost in the 2015 edition.
One shouldn't rule out the fact that Bangladesh tamed the Indian batters in the recently concluded Asia Cup tournament. Yes, the Indian side benched several key players, but it shouldn't take anything away from a spirited Bangladesh performance.