The Bangladesh team got back to business with their first practice session after a five-day break at the practice ground in Edgbaston yesterday, with one eye on the India-England game taking place a stone’s throw away at the main venue.
The Tigers, who will play in-form India at the same ground tomorrow, have been left needing some other results to go their way in their quest to land a first ever World Cup semifinal berth. All of Bangladesh would have been hoping for an Indian win because an English victory would have left Bangladesh needing to win both their remaining matches -- against India tomorrow and against Pakistan at Lord’s on June 5.
The Tigers, however, were focusing on one match at a time. They have not beaten India since besting their celebrated neighbours 2-1 in a home ODI series in 2015. They have lost all four matches since then.
The Tigers did receive a boost ahead of the stiff challenge as batsman Mahmudullah Riyad batted in the nets yesterday, five days after sustaining a Grade 1 tear on his right calf muscle during Bangladesh’s 62-run win over Afghanistan in Southampton on June 24.
Mahmudullah was seen on crutches while boarding the bus from Southampton on June 25, but he has been walking since and yesterday batted in the nets in full batting gear, raising hopes that he will play the crucial tie against India.
The pitch that will be used for the game against India will also be crucial. Pakistan beat New Zealand here on June 26 in a low-scoring encounter on a slowish wicket, which will suit Bangladesh. However, the India-England match yesterday was played on a belter where England ran up 337 for seven. That sort of wicket will surely favour India’s strong batting lineup against Bangladesh’s oft-misfiring bowling unit. The Tigers will know today which of the pitches will be used, and that may well dictate the strategy for tomorrow.