“A win can change everything,” Bangladesh skipper Mahmudullah Riyad had said after they lost to India in their first T20I tri-series Nidahas Trophy match, which was the latest in a long line of disappointments over the past two months or so.
The Tigers did manage to grab that one win and it was a historic one -- chasing down a Bangladesh-record 215-run target courtesy of a collective approach from the batsmen led by Mushfiqur Rahim's magnificent, unbeaten 35-ball 72 on Saturday that helped throw the tri-nation tournament wide open.
The confidence boost from the win has emerged as the biggest boon for the Tigers, which was reflected in their body language during and after the win and the belief has once again returned ahead of today's match against India at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
From Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah, all are now talking about playing the Bangladeshi brand of cricket and banking on their own strengths rather thinking of the opponents', but the biggest challenge for the Tigers would be to remain consistent, the lack of which has been their key shortcoming in recent months.
In the previous match against India, which they lost by six wickets, the batsmen's improper shot selection and over-enthusiasm to go after every delivery contrived to give away 55 dot balls, which proved decisive.
The Tigers' think tank are likely to go with the same team combination but there is a possibility of replacing struggling pacers Taskin Ahmed or Rubel Hossain as both remained wayward in line and length against Sri Lanka, giving away 40 and 45 runs respectively.
But it will be important for the Bangladesh openers Liton Das and Tamim Iqbal to provide a flying start once again and utilise the Powerplay as they did against Sri Lanka, scoring 74 runs -- their second-highest score in Powerplays in T20Is.
Once again, all eyes will be on Mushfiqur who is in fine form and the same aggression will be expected from the wicketkeeper-batsman, as well as from Mahmudullah and Soumya Sarkar. But Sabbir Rahman's continued laidback approach remains the biggest concern for the team management and he needs to buckle up for the next game.
The weather, however, could also play a big role as there is rain forecast today and so the possibility of a curtailed-overs game is high. Both teams are well aware of the fact and would have planned accordingly.
India, on the other hand, with two wins in three games look solid after their hard-fought win over Sri Lanka on Monday. However, Rohit Sharma and his troops may not look to experiment against the confident Tigers.
Sharma's form has remained one of the concerns for India as the right-hander has scored 0, 17 and 11 in his last three innings and Bangladesh will want to get the momentum by removing the elegant batsman and opposition leader early.
India's seamers have been instrumental in both their wins, with Shardul Thakur especially effective with his knuckle delivery as he bagged four wickets against Sri Lanka on Monday. Vijay Shankar is an asset as weel, while the spin duo of off-spinner Washington Sundar and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal has kept things tight and will play a key role on what is expected to continue being a batsman-friendly surface.
India will look to secure a place in the final by winning while Bangladesh would also want to get the upper hand before they take on Sri Lanka in the last league game on Friday.