India. KL. Virat. Litton. Taskin. Bangladesh. van Meekeren. O’Dowd. Raza.

Day 18 from the World Cup.


I have been calling Bangladesh the grit and grind team. India felt that today. India struggled with Taskin Ahmed at the top. Then the IPL bowlers took over in the middle. And India couldn't quite ever go nitro. They attacked the other bowlers, but again Bangladesh played to their strength.

Then India took the new ball, and it didn't move much for them, and Bangladesh's latest opening batting gamble actually worked. Far better than they had ever thought possible. Then the rain came out, India thought about it, got the run out, played the dimensions of the field, and Bangladesh simply ran out of people who could hit enough boundaries.

There was a time when it looked like India was gone. Finished early, two World Cups in a row. Litton Das played the innings of his life.

And then, even after that innings was over. Bangladesh didn't go away. They nagged and dragged themselves into this contest. Finding boundaries everytime India were well on top.

India were stretched, drowned, hit, and ultimately still got through. You will pick what you want out of this. This team has now been in three absolute dogfight games and has come out on top twice. You can say that India hasn't really fully clicked yet, and so all their games are close and they have gotten lucky. Or that Bangladesh just threw everything at India and they managed to get by. A true something for everyone results.

But the important thing is, India got the result.

KL Rahul

The other day I looked up KL Rahul's entire international career. Because I'd heard so much about him not making runs under pressure at the top level. And I figured if that was true, it would be pronounced in his record.

You look at this record, and the teams he has made big scores at, and you have someone who has made runs against the best teams at the international level. Also, quite a few away as well.

Then there is also the fact in the last five years of the IPL has nearly 500 runs more than second place. He had failed, that is what happens. These tournaments are short. Really good players can make no runs.

Anyway, he made 50 from 30 today, and his attack allowed Kohli's slow strike rate to be less of a concern.

And ofcourse, the run out.

So something happens where Litton Das slips again. I never quite saw whether it was a slip, or a trip. Which is actually what it looks like.

But the point is, Litton is short. But even then, more often than this,

It is when KL Rahul has to run around onto his right arm, pick up and throw from 50 odd metres to one and a half stumps. He got to it quickly, he released it fast. And then to hit as well.

That is a remarkable piece of fielding, and it probably won this match. You could argue that Litton might have struggled to continue to strike the rate he was going anyway, even before he hurt his wrist. But certainly this ended any speculation. This was just a great piece of fielding. The chase, the pick up and then the throw. To do it in the wet, talk about upping the difficulty rate.


Kohli has now played three catch-up anchoring innings this World Cup. This tournament has fallen beautifully for his skills, also he's clearly seeing the ball brilliantly to capitalise on them.

But regardless of that, you can see that he has an obvious plan when it comes to T20 World Cups.

I mean I could explain this to you, but I feel like it's about as clear as anything you will ever see. In every ten ball block he attacks a little more. This is not normal. Players usually plateau around 30 balls.

The problem is when you are dismissed doing this. Today he was 51 from 40. That is when he hit two straight boundaries, if he had holed out (which often happens when you haven't played any big shots for a while), then he took a lot of balls for not many runs. That didn't happen, and he got them to a nice total. But not an unassailable one.

It's all so interesting because the new Indian method was supposed to be more about attack, but conditions have not dictated that. The question is, can Kohli combine this incredible control he has at the moment with a slightly higher rate, especially earlier on. And, does he even want to?


This was Litton Das' greatest ever T20 innings. Now, I am not going to go through every knock for context or everything else. But Litton has never faced 25 balls in a T20 and had this strike rate.

I mean, its not even close, he struck in a way that he never has once in his career before, and did it with Bangladesh a chance to go into the semi-finals of a World Cup, against India of all teams. It was just remarkable knock in every single way. His intent, his striking and the way he made India look like they were second rate.

And we know Litton Das is a better player now, because we watch every video I made, and you will be aware that he was the most improved player in Tests as awarded by me.

So that is pretty clear. But it hasn't quite transformed to T20. In 2021 he had a shocking year, passed 50 once, averaged 16 and struck at 108.

Over the last few months, he's played some really good innings. But again, nothing that suggests he was about to do this in what was basically a World Cup Quarter Final.

He's not one of those guys he needed to open to be unlocked. He has opened pretty much his entire career, and been ordinary. He's not someone who lights up the World Cup, this was his first score at a World Cup. He probably prefers the extra pace of the Australian decks, but again, not enough to make any sense of this.

His other World Cup scores are 9 from 11, 34 from 31, and 14 from 12.

The only sight of this we had recently was a warm up match against Pakistan where he was 40 from 24 early on, and ended up with 65 from 39 and a strike rate of 166 at the end. But even that knock had a soft middle as he chipped it around.

There was no soft anything today. He wanted to hit the ball, and that ball was hit. Litton prepares like a professional, he's good a good athletic frame, and he's really smart. Those are the kinds of cricketers you want to be good.

And just for fun, let us remember that in Bangladesh's 13th opening partnership in the last two years, at one stage Shanto had four runs, and LItton had 56.

That man brought fun and class.


Bangladesh opened up with Taskin Ahmed, and the man had three slips. What a tournament he has had.

All World Cup he's been bowling at pace and moving the ball. Today his first two overs went for that many runs.

He really has had a great World Cup, and I think Bangladesh are leaning into him his strengths as well. Today he bowled all his overs upfront. Yes, that left Mustafizur and the lesser seamers with more to do. But I think Taskin's full worth is bowling upfront. I might not have given him the 7th one, only because that is often low scoring, so I might have thrown it to someone else.

But if he had taken a wicket it makes a huge difference at this point. And being that he caused India problems, and also has done that all the way through, it would make sense for him to be used there.

It left them exposed at the end, but Shakib used three slips, he was willing to take risks based on how well his main strike bowler has been going.

Bangladesh lose

There was an image of a father and his kid dressed in a full tiger onesie in tears at the end of the match. And when you do this job as long as I have, you usually kind of ignore that. But something about this scene really spoke to me. And I think it was that this family had purchased tiger onesies, the adults and kids then decided they would both wear them. And they went to the game probably thinking India would win.

And then as Litton Das was swinging, that probably changed. They probably thought, we can win this. The dad probably gave up earlier, but the kid would have kept that feeling right until the end. And then one more time, when Bangladesh were just about to do something special, it didn't quite work.

That family was a little like this team. Yeah, they were coming, but as Shakib said, they weren't here to win the World Cup. That is incredibly honest, and when you look at their record in the last two years, almost undeniable. But that seemed to give them freedom we seldom see from the Bangladesh team.

They played like they couldn't win the World Cup, and yet at times, they looked like they should beat a team that could.

And if you saw Taskin Ahmed in the dugout after, he looked like that family. After the match, there was no freedom left; the great vibes were over, and they were left with another loss.

I was appalled with some of their cricket in the last World Cup. And they started this one by being destroyed by South Africa. But look at them since. Even if they lose to Pakistan in the last game. They have given their all, and maybe, from all that freedom, we are seeing how they could build a T20 team in the future.

Ofcourse, as we saw again, it is the hope that kills you.

Dutch bowlers

I have been talking up this seam bowling attack for years, but I wonder if this is one of the few major matches where it has really clicked as it should on paper. This tournament, the rest have been fine, but Paul Van Meekeren has been so far and away the best. He's still averaging under 20 and going at less than a run a ball this World Cup. Outside Bas de Leede's wicket tally, the others hacen't been quite at that level.

But they also have Klaasen and Glover, and Van Beek. That is so much quality seam for a smaller side. And today, they all feasted. This is how it is supposed to work, the seamers taking ten wickets. Brandon Glover is someone I really rate, but he hasn't quite come on. But I have liked the look of him in this attack.

It was important for the Dutch to make it to the second round, they were ratshit in the last tournament. And this is too good a team to go home early twice. This hasn't quite gone as they would like, but today was important. Beating a test nation in the second round. And their strength delivering it.


You know there was going to be coming on Max O'Dowd. Because he made a 50 today, and the Netherlands won. Over two World Cups they have made five 50s; he has four of them. He was the leading run-scorer in the tournament today, until Virat Kohli went past him.

A Dutch journeyman player, just holding them up again. And if you are thinking, well, they have played more than most teams. Shall we look at the combined run total over the last two events (and the Dutch didn't make the second round last time). And so I want to bring one last bouquet to O'Dowd.

This is the leading run scorers in the last two World Cups.

This is a big moment for the Dutch. They made the second round, but they have been disappointing. Their young players haven't worked at the top, their experienced middle order has been worse.

They ended up with Stephan MyBurgh back at the top, in what is probably his last major outing.

But though all that, over two campaigns, O'Dowd has stood up.

Zimbabwe batting

When your best batter is a 36 year old number five, this is not ideal. This is a bowling tournament, but Zimbabwe have not been good with the bat. Before the tournament I thought they would struggle to make over 150 at this level. They managed it first game, but since then even in their wins, their batting has been pretty rough.

Before the India Bangladesh game

They score slow, which is expected, but they are also losing a lot of wickets. It is probably not helped by this being a good tournament for bowlers. But even then, they are averaging 15 with the bat and striking at 108. And that is over 7 games, and that is with Raza.

Let's take him out and look at the rest. Yeah, it suddenly looks even worse. They have made 634 runs from 633 balls without him. And are now averaging under 14. If you wonder why we mention him every time they play, it's this.