The battle lines have been drawn for the super Sunday final of the Asia Cup between India and host Bangladesh at Sher-e-Bangla stadium, Dhaka. The evening encounter on March 6 will decide the colour- green and red or blue- of this Asia Cup.
The final will not be exciting on paper as Indians are the number one team while Bangladesh are the No. 10 in ICC T20 ranking. But it does not reveal everything of the first Asia Cup T20 final as Bangladesh blended the tournament with twists and excitement. India as a favorite of the tournament reached the final while hardworking Bangladesh did a superb job in the run to the final. They lost to India in the first match but defeated UAE, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan in subsequent matches. Their victories over Sri Lanka and Pakistan came for the first time in this format, so they got the confidence and morale boost for the final game against mighty India.
Bangladesh bowler Taskin said, “India are one of the greatest teams in the world, but we are playing well too. If we can play as well as we can, we can win.” It is “50-50” chance now, he added.
Indian captain MS Dhoni also resonated Taskin’s thought. “Any team is good if they are at home. They will always know the conditions very well. To beat a home team is always difficult,” said MS Dhoni after India’s last round-robin fixture, against UAE. “Over the years, Bangladesh have developed a lot. They have improved their strengths. It will be a good final.” Dhoni added.
This match will be India’s last chance to prepare for World T20, so India will play their best possible XI who have been playing together since the Australia tour. The only change could be, expected, Ravindra Jadeja who will be replaced by Bhuvneshwar Kumar if Bangladesh play on a green pitch. Bhuvneshwar bowled 20 dot balls against UAE and took two wickets in the last game. India throughout the series dominated and bruised aside the opponent. In this aspect, the final will be one side, but Bangladesh are brimming with confidence, so they will pose a good challenge to India on a familiar pitch in front of 25,000 partisan spectators.
Taskin acknowledged that Indian are the better T20 side. India got many match winners in their rank. From the top order batsmen Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli to Hardik Pandya and Suresh Raina will create immense pressure on Bangladesh bowlers.
Yuvraj Singh’s also earned back his old touch and Dhoni is brisk with his wicketkeeping and batting so, India got depth in the middle order.
Yuvraj in the last match scored 25 off 16 balls and in the Sri Lanka match he scored 30 off 18 balls that are also a positive thing for India before the final and most importantly for the World T20.
Meanwhile, Indian fielders have joined the elite countries who can win the match only producing electric fielding. A fielder can make bad bowler look good blocking runs, taking a stunning catch. Indian fielders lead by Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli did it for India. Young boy Hardik Pandya also chipped in with a new style of celebration. His all-round performance helped India to tick all the box before the world T20.
It will be not an exaggeration to say that Indian are invincible in World T20 as they resolved their problem of the bowling attack. With veteran Ashish Nehra’s rejuvenated form and Jasprit Bhumrah’s outswing and Hardik Pandya’s form have strengthened India’s attack.
It has become a headache for an opposition team to prepare a pitch for the Indian team as India got a technically equipped batsman like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma for green pitches and seamer like Nehra and Bumrah while for a slow turning wickets India have Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin who are a nightmare for any opposition team.
So, India will play their best possible XI in the summit clash and expected to win the sixth Asia Cup final and first in T20 format.
Predicted XI: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Hardik Pandya, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja/Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Ashish Nehra