India guarding against banana-skin tie

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his teammates sound cautious enough not to step on the banana skin on Thursday against the hosts.

Updated: June 15, 2008 18:05 IST
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Going by current form, Bangladesh would need well-nigh a miracle to pull the rug from under India's feet in the cricket tri-series but Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his teammates sound cautious enough not to step on the banana skin on Thursday against the hosts.

Thursday's tie pits tournament favourite India against the lonely hosts, who are almost on their way out after Pakistan spanked them by 70 runs in the tri-series opener.

In contrast, India look every inch the tournament favourite after Dhoni and his team thumped Pakistan by 140 runs to snap their 12-match winning spree last night.

Indicating that the team would not lower the guard even against the minnows, Dhoni said he wanted to keep the slate clean.

"We got to win every match. In fact, it is not about winning and losing. It is all about going out there and playing to your potential and strength," Dhoni said.

"Everybody wants to win. It was a good game of cricket against Pakistan yesterday. Hopefully rain will not interfere on tomorrow," Dhoni said, almost indicating that only divine intervention can help the hosts tomorrow.

Refusing to underestimating Bangladesh, Dhoni said the hosts were no push-overs.

"They have enough depth in both batting and bowling and they should not be rated by one innings when they lost to Pakistan," he said.

Dhoni said though he had an eye on the job at hand, he was not missing the larger picture either.

"We always look to the present. We look to win over Bangladesh and then go in to the final where we want to play to our potential. Then think about Asia Cup, our next tournament and set a plan in place for positive result," he opined. There, however, remains one worry in the Indian camp and Dhoni said it was indeed getting difficult to sight the soiled ball after 20 overs.

"They have used black soil on the track. The ball gets ruffed up after 20 overs. It was really difficult to sight the ball," he said.

Bangladesh batting order has an obvious brittle look to it even though their bowlers did their best against Pakistan and managed to shoot out Shoaib Malik's team inside 40 overs.

In contrast, India look invulnerable in all three aspects of the game.

The star-studded batting line-up looks rock solid and it took them half centuries from just three batsmen to post a mammoth total of 330 for eight against Pakistan.

If the Delhi duo of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir can put together yet another strong start, it would allow their batting colleagues play their strokes with unbridled aggression.

Among the bowlers, Praveen Kumar and Piyush Chawla ran through the Pakistani line-up and in all likelihood, Bangladesh too would prove easy meat to both.

Teams (from):

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Yuvraj Singh, Robin Uthappa, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar, RP Singh, Piyush Chawla, Pragyan Ojha and M S Gony.

Bangladesh: Mohammad Ashraful (c), Mashrafe Mortaza, Mahmudullah, Tamim Iqbal, Aftab Ahmed, Abdur Razzak, Farhad Reza, Shahriar Nafees, Nazimuddin, Raqibul Hasan, Shahadat Hossain, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mehrab Hossain (Jr), Dolar Mahmud.

Start of Play: 1430 IST.

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