Saturday, 17 March 2007

Previews: Bangladesh vs India and Ireland vs Pakistan

This could be the day for a big shock. First up, Bangladesh take on similar subcontinental opposition in India and will fancy their chances of an upset. India are not the most consistant ODI side in the world and Bangladesh do have some promising youngsters spread throughout their ranks, who when they fire, are capable of matching the best. The pitch may prove to be a key factor and Bangladesh will be hoping that it is slow and low rather than quick and bouncy. They have the spinners to exploit such a pitch in Rafique and Abdur Razzaq, whilst Mashrafe Mortaza often carries the pace attack on his own, though Syed Rasel is a talent. India, minus the injured Sreesanth, are said to be the side which plays spin the best though, so it should be a fascinating encounter.

The other match may not prove to be quite so close, but given the moment, St Patrick's day and the injuries to some key Pakistani players, there could well be the biggest shock of the tournament on the cards. One thing is certain though, with Younis Khan, Mohammad Youssef and Inzy lining up for Pakistan, Ireland will need more than one big innings from Jeremy Bray to succeed on this occasion. The likes of Eion Morgan, Andre Botha and Niall O'Brien will all need to fire as well and be well backed up by the likes of Trent Johnston late on.

Johnston meanwhile will know that Ireland's best chance lies in winning the toss and bowling first on a moist and slightly green surface and will be counting on the bounce of Boyd Rankin to upset the Pakistani batsmen. Although the bowling was Pakistan's stronger suit against the West Indies, it does look slightly weak, with no Aktar, Asif, Razzaq, or Afridi. Umar Gul though is a very threatening prospect and Naved is an expert at exploiting any movement from a responsive pitch, as he has often shown in country cricket, but he may not retain his place. It will be impossible for Ireland if they lose the toss, but if they win it, all results will be possible and the luck of the Irish may well come into play again.

Bangladesh vs India:

Prediction: India may have just too much for Bangladesh this time around, but it will not be easy. The batting looks strong and capable of dealing with Bangladesh's spin threat, whilst the bowling, though minus Sreesanth, should still contain enough variety to deal with Bangladesh's exuberant young guns, if the runs are on the board.

Players to Watch: Mashrafe Mortaza and Rahul Dravid.

Ireland vs Pakistan:

Prediction: Again, I am going to favour the team who wins the toss on this pitch. If it is Pakistan I really can see no chance for Ireland as Gul and co may well prove to be too much to handle first up. Win the toss though and Ireland are in with a shout.

Players to Watch: Eion Morgan and Younis Khan.


Tim said...

You were certainly right - this was a day for shocks!

Chrispy said...

I was banking on one upset, but two, now that's heady stuff! When will Pakistan learn how to play bounce on non-flat tracks that favour the bowlers? My suggestion to them would be to produce some more lifeful surfaces at home to practice on (oh and ensure results rather than high scoring draws)...

Didn't fancy them from the start without the missing players.

Russell said...

Go, Bangladesh, Go! :D

The Bengal Tigers turned India upside down! :D