For the second consecutive Asia Cup, India, and Bangladesh will square off in the pinnacle clash at the Dubai International Stadium on September 28 (Friday).
Meanwhile, India will start as the potential favourites aiming for the seventh title. They are yet to lose a match in this tournament, and much has been possible due to their potent opening duo. Furthermore, the new ball bowlers have also picked wickets which have been a plus point in the otherwise slow pitches of Dubai.
Afghanistan pushed India to a tie in a thrilling encounter, but the men in blues have rested several key players in that dead rubber. The big guns, however, will return to the playing XI for the Asia Cup final against Bangladesh.
READ MORE – Top run scorers of Asia Cup 2018
On the other hand, Bangladesh have a lot of issues to deal with. The ouster of senior cricketers like Tamim Iqbal and Shakib-Al Hasan will push them on the backfoot. Mushfiqur Rahim, however, has scored runs all through and that batting unit will depend a lot on him.
In the last game against Pakistan, the bowling unit came together to produce a good effort and will look to continue against a star-studded Indian batting unit.
Bangladesh are a determined bunch, who have made a habit of toppling big teams. India looks too strong on paper, but this could become a super contest if Bangladesh can raise their game.
Rohit Sharma (India): The stand-in India captain will look to cross one final hurdle and win his second Asia Cup, and first as captain. He is the second-highest run scorer for India with 269 runs at 134.50 and will look to add to those numbers.
Mushfiqur Rahim (Bangladesh): Bangladesh’s saviour on most occasions will have to do it one more time and especially so in the absence of Iqbal and Shakib. He was seen in some discomfort while keeping against Pakistan, so that injury if there is one, might also be a factor.
Pitch & Conditions
It will be hot and humid in Dubai as it has been over the last two weeks. It will take a toll on the fitness of the players playing back to back games with no rain in the forecast.
Slow pitches that enable the ball to grip and turn have been the order of the tournament, and the final isn’t expected to be any different. Win the toss, bat first and put the opposition out in the field for a long while getting a 250-plus score could be the mantra for both teams.
A full house, given the level of support India and Bangladesh, get in Dubai. Four out of six result matches in the tournament here have witnessed wins for the side batting second, so expect the toss to play an important role again.
The senior cricketer will return to the playing XI after they sat out in the dead rubber against Afghanistan. As a result, KL Rahul, who batted brilliantly will have to pave his way out.
Probable XI: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah
The opening pair haven’t had done well, but Bangladesh have to play Soumya Sarkar for his contributions with the ball as Shakib Al Hasan isn’t available. Bangladesh should field the same XI that beat Pakistan in Abu Dhabi.
Probable XI: Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun, Mahmadullah, Imrul Kayes, Mashrafe Mortaza, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Mehidy Hasan
India have a very dynamic squad which have experiences of playing this kind of games in the recent past. On the other hand, Bangladesh have struggled when put under pressure.