Bangladesh begin their run in the Asian Cup against India. The hosts beat India in the previous edition of the competition and will be hoping to repeat the feat.
Venue: Fatullah Osmani Stadium, Narayanganj, Bangladesh
Date: Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014
Start time: 2 p.m. local time, 8 a.m. GMT
Weather: Accuweather predicts highs of up to 30 degrees celsius for the match, but it will feel much hotter than that given the humidity.
TV Info: Star Life OK (Sky Channel 783, UK)
In the current cricket climate, there simply aren't enough Cup competitions for the limited-overs format. There are plenty of one-day games bolted onto tours or played in isolation, but very few of these games mean something. The Asia Cup has context and, at the end of it all, it has a shiny trophy. One-day cricket will always have relevance as long as the World Cup exists, but especially for the Indian subcontinent, it is never enough. For cricket fans, the Asia Cup is the perfect distraction.
For the players taking part, it's ideal preparation for next year's World Cup (and also the World Twenty20—a different format but on the same pitches next month) and offers the opportunity for younger players to show they are up for the challenge. Virat Kohli will captain India throughout the competition and will get a taste of the enormous pressure MS Dhoni has been under all this time.
He's captained the team here before and averages 66.40 skippering his team in Bangladesh and will be expected to not only perform with the bat, but also get the best out of his team.
Batting will not be India's problem, it's the bowling which will be challenged, but with spinning surfaces instead of fast bowling green tops, his tweakers will be expected to do the job.
For Bangladesh, it's a chance to prove that they are indeed improving. After pushing Sri Lanka close in their recent ODI series, but failing to win a game, the host nation needs to do better. They are without star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan who was suspended for three games for an inappropriate gesture. While one player does not make a team, it certainly is a massive blow for the host nation.
India are far stronger on paper and as the current World Champions, nothing less than a win will do. Games will come thick and fast and getting the momentum early on will be key.
Mushfiqur Rahim can be brutal with the bat and although he managed to pass 50 just once against Sri Lanka, his captaincy, his batting and his keeping is one of the most crucial parts of the Bangladesh line-ups.
Ravi Jadeja's all-round role on Asian wickets will be a handy extra for India. His main role will be with the ball and after a tough tour to New Zealand playing on a track which favours him will be a big relief. With no MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh or Suresh Raina, Jadeja's finishing with the bat will also be important.
Mushfiqur Rahim (captain), Anamul Haque, Imrul Kayes, Shamsur Rahman, Naeem Islam, Mominul Haque, Nasir Hossain, Arafat Sunny, Ziaur Rahman, Abdur Razzak, Sohag Gazi, Mashrafe Mortaza, Rubel Hossain, Al-Amin Hossain, Shakib Al Hasan
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (captain), Dinesh Karthik, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ambati Rayudu, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Varun Aaron, Stuart Binny, Amit Mishra, Ishwar Pandey
All squad details and statistics via ESPNCricinfo
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