India playing under the captaincy of Virat Kohli takes on a worthy opponent in form of Bangladesh at the Fatullah Stadium. Currently World No. 2 India is the highest rank team with 115 points while their opponents are ranked 9th according to ICC ODI rankings. The world champions would not let these rankings play any difference on their minds, as taking Asia Cup 2012 finalist lightly might prove costly to the team.
Coming into the Asia Cup 2014, India would find them in the similar situation as that of the last edition when they entered the tournament after successive loses at the hands of England and Australia in the test matches. And this time around too, they have been embarrassed first by South Africa with 1-0 test series loss and 2-0 in ODIs. After South Africa, they went down to the Black Caps New Zealand meekly both in ODIs and Test series 4-0 and 1-0 respectively.
Adding to the woes is the absence of their regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni who has been ruled out of the tournament due to side-strain injury sustained during the second test match in Wellington. This tournament would prove to be a litmus test for the stand-in-skipper Virat Kohli, who would like to bring the team back to the winning ways.
As for the team composition, Dinesh Karthik is the replacement as wicket-keeper batsman for the Mahendra Singh Dhoni. He is already a big player in the IPL and would be itching to prove his worth in the national side. India would also expect technically sound Cheteshwar Pujara to play the role of anchor for the team.
Bangladesh on the other hand cannot boast of sunny days as they too have been thrashed in their backyard by Sri Lanka a month back. Apart from the psychological disadvantage they are coming in this match without attacking opening batsman Tamim Iqbal who has been ruled out the tournament after sustaining neck strain. All-rounder Shakib-Al-Hasan will also be missing from action in their opening match against India, courtesy his two match ban for doing lewd gestures.
For the record the last time these two teams faced each other in Asia Cup was in 2012, in which Bangladesh chased down a decent score of 289 to beat India comprehensively with five wickets. This was the very same match Sachin Tendulkar scored his 100th international century. As for India the good thing is the sublime form of their captain Virat Kohli, World no. 8 who scored most runs runs in the last edition including his career best knock of 183 against Pakistan.
Overall the both the teams look evenly poised. One can give India a psychological advantage with them returning back to the subcontinent environment and first match against not much ranked team but this should not make them complacent as records show Bangladesh is very much capable of pulling a blunder.
India: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ambati Rayudu, Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Varun Aaron, Stuart Binny, Amit Mishra, Ishwar Pandey.
Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (c), Shakib Al Hasan, Al-Amin Hussain, Anamul Haque, Abdul Razzak, Mominul Haque, Mashrafe Mortaza, Imrul Kayes, Arafat Sunny, Naeem Islam, Nasir Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Shamsur Rahman, Sohag Gazi, Ziaur Rahman.
Match starts at 1330 IST