India A and Bangladesh A will go into the final ODI of the three-match series with everything to play for. India won the first match comprehensively thanks to Gurkeerat Singh’s superb all-round effort. In the second match, Nasir Hossain also came up with a stunning all-round performance to almost single-handedly lead Bangladesh A to an equally impressive win. In both matches, the winning side outplayed the loser. Playing at home, India A would be disappointed if they go down in the three-match series, even though Bangladesh A are playing with a near full-strength squad.
The final match of the series will be very crucial for veteran batsman Suresh Raina as he gears up for the South Africa series. He has got a start in both the matches so far, but has failed to go on and register a substantial score. He will be keen to make amends in the match on Sunday. Raina is an extremely important member of India’s T20 and one-day outfit. As such the team management would be keen for him to head into the South Africa series with runs behind him. This is primarily why he was chosen for the series among younger talents.
India A’s top and middle-order fared very poorly in the first two matches, and will have to make amends in the decider if the hosts want to win the series. Mayank Agarwal got a fifty in the first match, and skipper Unmukt Chand got one in the second, but the rest haven’t done much. Manish Pandey got a start in the last match, but couldn’t carry on. The likes of Karun Nair and Kedar Jadhav also could not grab their chances. Sanju Samson was brilliant in the first game, and the team would want him to do much better than the first-ball duck he got in the second.
India’s bowling in the second match was competitive, and but for Nasir’s hundred most of the other batsmen could not make much of an impact on the Indian bowlers. Rishi Dhawan was the standout performer with three wickets while Karn Sharma also did well with his leg spin, claiming a couple of key scalps. India A would however need a complete effort to overcome the Bangladesh A outfit. Sreenath Aravind and Gurkeerat Singh could not repeat the success they tasted in the first match, which needs to change.
Bangladesh A, on the other hand, would be glad with the kind of comeback they made in the second match. Obviously, Nasir was brilliant, with his hundred and five-for. But, the effort of Rubel Hossian was also crucial with the ball. His four-for included some very big wickets. While their bowling was excellent in the previous game, their batting still needs some improvement. Soumya Sarkar hasn’t got a big score in the series. Rony Talukdar and Anamul Haque and Mominul Haque also need runs. In fact, Litton Das has been the only one who has been consistent for Bangladesh A thus far.
--By A Cricket Analyst