India, who are assured of a top spot in Pool B, will face Bangladesh, who finished Pool A on fourth after a narrow loss to New Zealand on Friday.
Bangladesh are ranked ninth, a whole seven places below defending champions India, but Sunil Gavaskar cautioned Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men against taking the Tigers lightly in their World Cup quarter-finals at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 19. (Full World Cup Coverage | Points Table)
Bangladesh qualified for the last-eight after shocking England and came close to stunning New Zealand in Hamilton. The World Cup co-hosts, however, held their nerves to clinch a three-wicket thriller after they were tested in both batting and bowling for the first time in the tournament: “Every team has some weakness but after the match vs Bangladesh, some of New Zealand’s weaknesses were shown more prominently. India’s quarter-final against Bangladesh won’t be easy and they will do very, very well to not take the Tigers lightly,” Gavaskar told NDTV in Auckland, where the Men in Blue take on Zimbabwe in their last Pool B game on Saturday.
Bangladesh have in the past beaten India in two big matches – the 2007 World Cup defeat ended up in elimination from the World Cup in the West Indies while the 2012 Asia Cup loss resulted in an unceremonious exit as well. “(On Friday), Bangladesh could have surprised New Zealand if they had five regular bowlers. Of course, there are no ifs and buts in cricket, but India wouldn’t take Bangladesh lightly. During the knockout stages, luck of the day can make all the difference,” Gavaskar said. (Mahmudullah Key for Bangladesh in Quarters: Shakib)
India have been in great form in the World Cup so far, having won all their five matches. They got the better of South Africa at the MCG, where Indian supporters far outnumbered the Proteas. However, Bangladeshi fans are just as eager and keen to see their team upset the more powerful sub-continental neighbours when they lock horns on Thursday.