Cricket World Cup: Positive Bangladesh pose rare threat to India
However inaccurate it may be, there is a stereotypical perception that suburban Indian trains are overcrowded, with passengers seeking a morsel of space on the roof as refuge from the packed cabins below.
If any of those travellers were able to climb aboard the juggernaut that is the country’s cricket team at the World Cup, the roof would be the last place they would want to be.
Such is the speed with which MS Dhoni’s men seem to be hurtling towards a successful defence of their title, the quarter-final with Bangladesh appears a mere formality.
Indeed odds of 1/6 on an Indian win over their sub-continent rivals indicates such a lop-sided matchup, but a Bangladesh outfit that have surprised many to reach this point cannot be overlooked so easily.
Ladbrokes give the Tigers a 4/1 chance of causing a major upset but, as their obstinate victory over England in Pool A’s crunch game showed, they are no longer timid opponents.
Their batting, once brittle and inoffensive, now has a steel to it thanks to a middle order consisting of Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hassan and Mushfiqur Rahim.
The former is the fifth-highest runscorer at the tournament. His consecutive centuries to close out the group stage have helped him to a total of 344, more than any player in India’s side.
He is 4/1 to be Bangladesh’s leading scorer in Melbourne, where he only managed 28 against Sri Lanka in his previous outing.
Against an Indian attack that is as penetrative as it is well-balanced, Mahmudullah and co will have to be at their best.
Mohammed Shami leads the way with 15 wickets so far, the second-highest tally in the tournament, while three others have claimed 10 or more. No Bangladesh bowler has more than seven.
By the end, it will be that penetration that sees India’s winning train rumble on, but it won’t be half as easy as many think.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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