Bangladesh will be on the search of their first Asia Cup title when they meet six-time champions India at Dubai International Stadium on Friday. In the last super four-round match, a knockout game, Bangladesh beat Pakistan by 37 runs to reach the final. Bangladesh win also ruled out millions of fans expectation of an India – Pakistan Final in Asia Cup 2018.
India’s journey to the final
Though Hong Kong gave the Men in blue a scare in their first game which India won eventually, Rohit Sharma and team came back strongly to beat Pakistan (twice) and Bangladesh comprehensively in the series so far. Their last match in the super four round against Afganistan which tested India’s bench strength resulted in a tie. However, they will be least worried about it as all their frontline players are available for the final game. For India, their top order batsmen and bowlers are in supreme form.
Rohit Sharma and Shikar Dhawan had already scored centuries in the series and done the bulk of the scoring for India. Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik scored whenever they had the opportunity. Bowling line up featuring Kumar, Bumrah, Chahal, Kuldeep, and Jadeja are at their best. India’s only worry will be about their middle order batsmen. The collapse against Hong Kong and the game against Afganistan throws some issues management has to sort out. Given that, the team will trust their openers once again to give a solid start so that middle order can play with less pressure in the final game.
Bangladesh’s roller coaster ride
Bangladesh has been inconsistent with their performance in this series. They started with a massive win against Srilanka in the opening game of the series. Against Afganistan, they lost once in the first round and managed to get over the finishing line in the last over in the super four – round. Given their inconsistent performance, they have few things to sort out before the final. Their openers failed miserably in all the games, batting collapse in a couple of games, fielding mistakes and an average bowling performance are things to worry about for Bangladesh. They can depend on Mushfiqur Rahim to deliver in the middle along with Mithun and Kayes.
Rahim is in good form scoring a century in the opening match and 99 in the knockout game against Pakistan. His stay at the crease and building partnerships with Mithun and Kayes in the middle overs will have a significant say in the game. Bangladesh will also hope the openers rise to the occasion and provide them with a solid start. Mustafizur and Mehidy Hasan had an outstanding outing against Pakistan. Their momentum will be another booster for them on Friday.
Bangladesh will have to be on top of their game to restrict the number two ODI team in all departments. They may have to minimize their fielding errors to take any half chances to turn the game in their favor and bowlers will have a tough task to breakthrough the inform Indian top order batting. On the other hand, Indians who have ticked almost all the checkboxes will be looking to finish on high with a clinical finish to win the title once again.