Scratch-and-sniff stickers should be awarded to Bangladesh for the ultra-smooth 2011 World Cup Opening Ceremony. High tech and entertaining, yet respectful of sub-continent traditions, the opening ceremony was straight out of the screws.
For Match 1 we are back at Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka, with host nations Bangladesh and India competing in the opening fixture.
This game will be crucial to Bangladeshi chances; a competitive loss/win will give them swagger for the following games, a crushing loss could hamstring confidence for the entirety of the tournament.
For the Indians, nothing less than a comprehensive victory will be acceptable. India is a proud nation and no doubt looking to avenge their shock 2007 World Cup loss to the host team.
I assume the track will be a dreadfully slow and turn-happy, with little support for the seamers. In most instances, this would favour Bangladesh with its quartet of orthodox-spinners. Against India (masters of spin), the lack of world-class variation will prove very costly.
Expect batsmen such as Sehwag, Tendulkar and Kolhi to cash in this World Cup. I would assume the high-bat to come from one of these three, all being exceptional players of spin bowling. Sehwag is the key, he can single handedly snuff the Bangladeshi psychological-home-advantage by taking it to the bowlers for a few overs.
Overall, lets just hope the result isn’t cringe-worthy for the Bangladeshis, who could gain some serious momentum from a good showing in Dhaka. Either that, or a first-hand taste of cricketing sado-masochism leaving them bound, beaten and broke.
The Cauldron (What It All Boils Down To):
India to win by a mile. Bangladesh will need a few games to settle, crucial game for confidence.
The Stickmen (High Bat):
Sehwag (India), Kohli (India).
Peace in Cricket and Godspeed. For more World Cup information stay tuned to Googlie Cricket blog.