Ball One – I’ll be keeping a keen eye on the runs scored in the middle overs (16th to the 39th). That comprises half the resources available to a batting team and can often dribble away at 4 an over. India are not allowing any sustained quiet period here and, with such depth in their batting, why should they? Perhaps only Australia are as positive in the middle overs and that’s one reason why both are rated amongst the favourites.
Ball Two – Wouldn’t it be great to see Bangladesh play a full season of domestic cricket in England? There would be plenty of interest from the Bengali diaspora and bowlers would learn the nous they need to take wickets in all formats of the game. Some readers may consider that suggestion rather condescending for an established Test nation, but while Shakib’s team have made great strides in batting, the bowlers still look like they are waiting for something to happen – not a plan that wins cricket matches.
Ball Three – India are determined to get pace on to the ball through fast hands, as there is little pace in the pitch. Bat speed will be so critical in this World Cup and I’m surprised that we don’t get given figures for it, as baseball coverage provides for its fans. I don’t much care for over-emphasising the importance of nets, but practice must improve bat speed and build muscle memory.
Ball Four – I’m sure that it will soon become orthodox practice to take the batting powerplay on the change of ball after 34 overs. India do that, but such is the carnage that it’s barely noticed.
Ball Five – Incredibly, Bangladesh are ahead of the run rate straight away. There’s no way they could pull this off is there? One of the funny things about cricket is that adversity makes the game easier – Bangladesh can have no thought other than attack for all 50 overs. It’s better to crash and burn at 170 all out in 30 overs than to overthink the match situation and finish 320-5 off 50. (Please don’t mention net run rate!)
Ball Six – At the halfway mark, Tamim appears to be channeling the spirit of Sunil Gavaskar from the opening match of the 1975 World Cup. Even if the Bangladeshis are looking to protect their net run rate – arrrghhh! – his batting is inexplicably passive. I suspect the Bangladeshis are overthinking it.
The Tooting Trumpet, whom you can often find at Testmatchsofa.com and on Twitter at @garynaylor999.