Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 12 November 2019

Cyclone threat to second T20 between India and Bangladesh in Rajkot

After toxic air pollution during first T20 in Delhi, inclement weather expected to affect Thursday's match as well

Bangladesh beat India by seven wickets in the first T20 at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi. AFP
Bangladesh beat India by seven wickets in the first T20 at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi. AFP

Bangladesh face another battle with the elements as they look to seal a historic T20 series win in India during the second match in Rajkot on Thursday.

If Bangladesh and India thought the toxic air in Delhi during the opening T20 was the biggest challenge facing them in the ongoing tour, the venue for the second game of the series is set to throw an even bigger one their way with a cyclone predicted to hit the city in the coming days.

Cyclone 'Maha' has moved away from the Gulf and is headed towards India’s western coast. According to the Indian meteorological department, the cyclone is likely to hit the western Indian state of Gujarat – and its city of Rajkot – on Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

While the cyclone is expected to weaken by the time it hits land, it is still likely to cause extensive damage.

Bangladesh will be hoping the inclement weather stays away from the game as they have a rare opportunity to clinch a series win in India. Their seven-wicket win over India in the first T20 in Delhi was the Tigers’ first ever in the format against the Indians.

That they managed to win without Shakib Al Hasan, after a tense few weeks over a pay dispute with their board and in the toxic air of Delhi must have made the win extra sweet.

Mushfiqur Rahim made it a point to not go overboard with celebrations after leading the way with an unbeaten 60. “We still have two more matches to go, we haven't won the series yet. We'll try to win at least one more and then you'll see a bigger celebration,” Rahim had said.

India, on the other hand, have a lot to worry about. While they are the top-ranked team in Test cricket and well placed in second position in ODIs, they are a lowly fifth in T20 cricket and their effort in the opening match showed why.

Against an unsure Bangladesh side, India failed to force the issue in their backyard either with the bat or ball. All Indian batsmen struggled for timing as most could only manage run a ball.

In the bowling department, spinners Washington Sundar and Yuzvendra Chahal made excellent use of the slow pitch but left-arm seamer Khaleel Ahmed lost them the match in the penultimate over by getting hit for four successive boundaries by Rahim.

India would be tempted to drop Khaleel and go with seamer Shardul Thakur.

Updated: November 5, 2019 05:06 PM

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