A 50-run win against Sri Lanka has really made life a lot easier for the Indian team in the context of the Asia Cup. A good two-day break followed and after that, MS Dhoni couldn't have asked for anything better than a match against Bangladesh to seal a berth in the final before the high-tension India-Pakistan match on Sunday.
The team, which looked tight and tense right through the series Down Under, is now feeling at home. The track and format is to their liking, the batsmen seem to be among runs and Bangladesh, as hosts, are under immense pressure from their fans to win the game to simply keep themselves alive in this tournament.
India's targets are now simple: get some momentum going when it comes to winning and if possible, get Sachin Tendulkar's 100th ton too out of the way in the process.
However, Virender Sehwag's "Bangladesh is an ordinary side" jibe before the World Cup seems to have stayed in the minds of Mushfiqur Rahim & Co and they are looking for an opportunity to settle scores. "Sehwag is not there, but there are other players who are equally good. We would like to prove that we are a decent side after all," skipper Rahim said on the eve of the match on Thursday.
Despite the recent struggle against India, Bangladesh had their moments against the Men in Blue, the biggest being in the 2007 World Cup when they won to knock their fancied opponents out. Bangladesh are looking back to such highs and drawing inspiration. "We may not have won too many, but we have done reasonably well against them," Rahim added.
India, though, don't seem too bothered. But for any injuries, they are likely to stay with the same attack that played against Sri Lanka. There's only an outside chance for Yusuf Pathan, if Dhoni decides to give Ravindra Jadeja a break and go with four specialist bowlers.
It's a matter of conjecture, though, whether the likes of Yusuf or Rohit Sharma will get a decent hit even if they are in the playing XI. Given the nature of the tracks here, the top-four will always look to cash in while those coming down may well have to accelerate at the death.
With Pakistan next up, Dhoni can't afford a part of his batting lineup to be a touch undercooked, and it can be a wise idea for the skipper to push the likes of Rohit or Yusuf up the order so that they get a feel of the situation in the middle. Both the teams are likely to go in with three pacers and India's R Vinay Kumar indicated that defending is not an easy job.
"The wicket is completely flat and the ball comes on very well to the bat thorough the majority of a game. You need 280 runs to make a match of it," Kumar said. India, of course, have the ammunition to get 280-plus and the Bangladesh skipper is wary about the form Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir are in. "They are great players and we have to find ways to get them out. Otherwise, things can get tight for us," Rahim felt.
Some also feel that this game will be Sachin Tendulkar's best chance in the Asia Cup to complete his 100th ton but the Bangla skipper promised to make it difficult for the maestro.
"We want it to happen, we don't mind if it happens during the Asia Cup, but definitely not against us," the skipper said, giving the impression that they won't be psyched out in this big game.
India (probable): Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan, R Ashwin, R Vinay Kumar, Praveen Kumar
Bangladesh (probable): Nazimuddin, Tamim Iqbal, Jahurul Islam, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah, Nasir Hossain, Abdur Razzak, Mashrafe Mortaza, Shafiul Islam and Shahadat Hossain.