Bangladesh will count on its motivated players and a huge home support to see through the challenge of facing the world number one India in the final of the Asia Cup at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium on Sunday evening. The tickets for the summit clash vanished the moment the host ensured the final berth downing the mighty Pakistan in the league phase.
India appeared more composed ahead of the clash. But the home team could not suppress its eagerness to grab the crown for the first time. Having lost the final – which was previously played in ODI format – by two runs against Pakistan at the same venue in 2012, Bangladesh is desperate for a win.
“We will not back away from taking from taking aggressive decision and will give our best to execute our plans against an opponent which is way ahead in terms of success and form,” Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza said looking at the relative imbalance in the position of the two opponents in the ICC T20 rankings. India is on top of the rankings with the highest rating while Bangladesh is at No. 10 with moderate success in this format.
“We were never the pre-tournament favourite like India but we have reached the final beating champion sides like Sri Lanka and Pakistan. We look to keep improving our performance and hope to see it happen in the final too,” Mortaza added while appreciating the fact that his team has lost all its T20Is against India.
India will stick to its best combination with no news of injury from its camp. Bangladesh, meanwhile, will miss its key pacer Mustafizur Rahman, who is out with a side strain. Its leading wicket-taker in T20Is, Shakib Al Hasan is uncertain to play after sustaining a “left hip-flex injury” in a training session on Friday. Bangladesh team physio Bayejidul Islam said the player is expected to recover in time.
India’s Team Director Ravi Shastri said the team will view the final as a “knock out” match. “We are experienced players. You just treat it as another game. You approach it like you have approached every game in this tournament. For us every game is a knockout and we have approached it in that fashion. And we will approach tomorrow’s game in no different manner,” was how Shastri sought to negate the fact that India beat Bangladesh in the league stage in the same tournament.
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been insisting on maintaining the team that has won nine out of its 10 outings in the last two months. The stability and discipline in bowling – which has seen fairly good contributions from Ashish Nehra, Jasprit Bumrah, R. Ashwin and Hardik Pandya -- has been one of the high points of India’s success. The region of worry has been the apparent inconsistencies in the batting department where Virat Kohli has been the most dependable so far. Yuvraj Singh also had a good outing with the bat in the previous two matches and that will comfort Dhoni.
On the scale of performance, Bangladesh also has a good bowling attack while its batsmen’s form has been intermittent. “We are motivated and our dressing atmosphere is very good. We have got some good starts and need to see that we equally efficient in our finishing,” Mortaza said.
Read Ravi Shastri's comments >here
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