Melbourne: Former captain Sunil Gavaskar expects India to beat Bangladesh in their cricket World Cup quarterfinal fixture at the MCG tomorrow but says it may not be as easy for the defending champions as people think it is. “Bangladesh have a good batting line-up. Mahmudullah can take any game away, Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib can do that. If they bat first and put up 250-odd runs and then the ball starts turning, it may not be easy to chase down the target for India,” Gavaskar said.
“No doubt, Indian batting is in fine touch but Zimbabwe stretched them. It is good that Indian batsmen were tested by Zimbabwe. I expect India to win tomorrow but it may not be as easy as many people would think,” he said. Indian team’s fielding in the ongoing cricket World Cup has been a revelation and Gavaskar feels that Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side has the added advantage over Bangladesh in that department of the game.
“MCG is a big ground and there will not be too many sixes. India have the advantage in fielding and with young and athletic players likely to cut off those balls from reaching the long boundaries, I think it will be tough for Bangladesh players to score runs,” the former captain said.
“And if the weather is dicey tomorrow and the balls turns a bit, then batting may not be easy. India will have the advantage in these situations,” he told ‘NDTV’. Gavaskar also said that the number of Indian spectators at the MCG tomorrow may not be as large as the group game against South Africa, as the Indian team’s quarterfinal venue was known later than other teams.
“All other quarter-finalists knew their venue in advance. India knew it just a few days back. So, many Indian fans who have to come from other cities might not have booked their tickets and there were a fair number of Bangladesh fans in their last match at the MCG. So, the strength of crowd supporting the two teams could be 50:50.”
Former West Indies captain Brian Lara said India were the clear favourites as they were far stronger than Bangladesh. “I said the first quarterfinal match between Sri Lanka and South Africa was to be the closest quarterfinal contest. It turned to be a one-sided affair. In the other three ties, one team is too strong for the other. India are a way too strong for Bangladesh,” he said.