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India will pose mountainous challenge, but Bangladesh are confident.
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India favourite, but Bangladesh are brimming with confidence

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

 

Asia Cup: Pakistan beat Sri Lanka to earn consolation win
Asia Cup: Pakistan beat Sri Lanka to earn consolation win
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Asia Cup: Pakistan beat Sri Lanka to earn consolation win

Mirpur (Bangladesh), March 4 (IANS) Pakistan came up with a strong batting performance to defeat Sri Lanka by six wickets in their inconsequential final round robin encounter of the Asia Cup Twenty20 cricket tournament at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium here on Friday.

Batting first, Sri Lanka posted 150/4 in 20 overs, thanks to Tillakaratne Dilshan’s unbeaten 75.

In reply, Umar Akmal slammed a quickfire 48 as Pakistan chased down the total in 19.2 overs while losing four wickets.

Chasing a challenging target of 151, Pakistan struggled at the start losing Mohammad Hafeez (14) in the fourth over of the innings.

But his opening partner Sharjeel Khan (31) and incoming batsman Sarfraz Ahmed (38) held on to score at a good pace to help team cross the 50-run mark.

Next up, Dilshan picked the wicket of Sharjeel which was followed by Sarfraz’ wicket claimed by Milinda Siriwardana to reduce Pakistan to 94/3 in 13th over.

Incoming batsmen Akmal and Shoaib Malik (13) brought up a good partnership to ensure team went close to victory line with ease.

Earlier on put into bat, Sri Lanka got off to a flying start with openers Dilshan and Chandimal using their experience to counter the Pakistani bowlers and help team cross the 100-run mark without losing a wicket inside 14th over.

But the first ball of the 15th over saw pacer Wahab Riaz bringing on the first breakthrough to dismiss set batsman Chandimal.

The first wicket brought back fortunes back for Pakistan as some tight and good bowling saw Shehan Jayasuriya (4), Chamara Kapugedera (2) and Dasun Shanaka (0) going back to the pavilion in space of two overs.

But Dilshan used his experience to hold on and pile on a couple of boundaries in the death overs to help the team reach 150-run mark. The right-handed batsman struck ten fours and one six.

Mohammad Irfan (2-18) was the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 150/4 in 20 overs (Tillakaratne Dilshan 75 not out, Dinesh Chandimal 58; Mohammad Irfan 2-18) vs Pakistan 151/4 in 19.2 overs (Umar Akmal 48; Nuwan Kulasekara 1-20)

Pakistan won their final Asia Cup T20 match against Sri Lanka by six wickets
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Twitter reacted to Pakistan’s six wickets win against Sri Lanka

Pakistan finally tasted a victory against a Test playing nation in Asia Cup as they defeated Sri Lanka in their final game of the Asia Cup T20. Umar Akmal, Sarfaraz Ahmed played 48 and 38 runs innings respectively while Mohammad Irfan took two wickets to restrict Sri Lanka for 150. Ousted from the tournament after morale-crushing defeats against Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have locked horns in an inconsequential round robin encounter of the Asia Cup T20 cricket tournament in Mirpur on Friday.

Here is how twitter reacted to Pakistan’s victory:

MS Dhoni, Taskin Ahmed, Bangladesh
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Taskin Ahmed holding chopped head of MS Dhoni has gone viral

Bangladesh is basking in glory they reached the Asia Cup T20 final. They will meet India in the final on Sunday at Sher-e-Bangla National stadium, Mirpur, Dhaka. In recent times Bangladesh has given India good fight even they humiliated India in an ODI series last year. But, Bangladesh lost their cool in excitement. A Bangladesh fan edited an image where Bangladesh fast bowler Taskin Ahmed is seen holding MS Dhoni’s chopped head.

This image showed how angry Bangladesh fans are over Dhoni, who in the last ODI series elbowed Mustafizur Rahman. But, this image has crossed all limits. Rivalry on the field is a great thing and fight on social media is tolerable. But, the image beheading Indian captain’s head is deplorable. This image proved that Bangladesh took cricket as a symbol of hyper-nationalism has gone wrong.

Although Bangladeshi captain, Masrafe Mortaza  recently in his book wrote that he does not take cricket as a medium of nationalism. “It is just a sport and it entertains people.”

Last year an image of Mustafizur Rahman’s cutter was made where every Indian players’ half shaved head’s was published by Prothom Alo’s in their supplement  Roshalo (crispy) to show the conditions of Indian batsmen while facing Mustafizur Rahman who tormented India throughout the series.

Prothom Alo published a image of half shaved head Indian players Players to prove Mustafizur Rahman's cutters' venom
Prothom Alo published an image of half shaved head Indian Players to prove Mustafizur Rahman’s cutters’ venom.

Bangladesh local newspapers are also printing all sorts of aggressive headlines on the super Sunday final.

The rivalry between India and Bangladesh has aggravated after the 2015 World Cup clash where the latter felt that a no ball deprived them a win in the quarter-final.

However, Mashrafe said, his team have already forgotten the incident. But, by looks of it, it seems Bangladeshi fans did not forget that incident.

Bashir Ahmed, Pakistan, Bangladesh
Bashir Ahamed was forced to wear Bagladesh flag in presence of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League MP Ellias Molla
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Pakistani fan Bashir Ahmed harassed by Bangladesh fans

Ruling Bangladesh political party  Awami League MP has allegedly harassed a US-based Pakistani fan at Mirpur, Dhaka  who is well-known face among cricket fans. It was seen that Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s party MP Ellias Molla led a gang of people who forced Bashir Ahmed to wear a kurta printed in green and red Bangladesh  flag, BBC Bangla reported.

Bashir Ahmed travels everywhere around the world with Pakistan team. He was seen supporting India and captain MS Dhoni in 2015 World Cup after Pakistan’s early exit.

Recently Dhoni also gave him a ticket for India-Pakistan match.

The image was spread through social media where it was seen that Ellias Molla was encouraging people to force Bashir Ahmed to wear Bangladesh flag and the latter and Bashir was crying in front of miscreants.

Ellias Molla was seen saying something to Bashir, who is popularly known as Chacha, during this shameful incident.

But, after noticing this disgraceful incident many Bangladesh protested. A student union leader Lucky Akhtar said that it is the “dishonor” of the flag.

Akhtar wrote on his facebook page, “ a renowned cricket fan was embarrassed in Dhaka. But, as a citizen of Bangladesh, I think this shameful incident dishonoured the national flag.”

He also demanded punishment for Ellias Molla and his gang.

One of the Bangladesh fans asked, “nothing  is clear from this image. I could not understand whether he wore the flag willingly or was he forced to wear it.”

Last year iconic Indian team fan Sudhir Gautam was  harassed by Bangladeshi fan at Mirpur, Dhaka when he was leaving the stadium after Bangladesh defeated India.

Ashwin, Thisara Perera, Dismissal
Ravichandran Ashwin during a training session
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Ashwin and a Sri Lankan fan fight over Thisara Perera dismissal

A  Sri Lankan cricket fan was the latest to discover the wit of India cricketer Ravichandran Ashwin, as the two of them engaged in an argument over an incident which took place in the India-Sri Lanka group match in the ongoing Asia Cup.

In the penultimate over of the Sri Lankan innings, Thisara Perera was victim to a wrong decision from the square leg umpire. As he tried to charge Ashwin’s delivery, he missed the ball and Dhoni flicked the stumps off. The umpire, without a moment’s hesitation, raised his finger.

Replays showed that the batsman had brought the bat back inside his crease in the same sweeping motion with which he had  given the charge. However, umpire Shozab Raza had been confident that the batsman was out, and did not feel the need to refer the decision to the third umpire.

Thisara Perera’s wicket prevented the Islanders from reaching 150 and beyond, and they were shot down for 138 for 9. His 6 ball 17 had given a push to the score, but it was not enough to challenge India. There was some outrage from Sri Lankan fans after the match regarding the Perera dismissal, and it was one of the protesters who Ashwin took interacted with:

After this exchange, the fan seemed to target Ashwin himself, saying his sporting spirit should have pushed him to call back batsman. Ashwin replied to this saying that he possessed tunnel vision, but did not have a 3D vision or the ability to see through a batsman.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar backs in form as he took two wickets against UAE.
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Ratings of Indian players after defeating UAE

India won their fourth straight matches in Asia cup 20 2016 at Sher-e-Bangla National stadium, Mirpur, Dhaka. This time, they defeated minnows United Arab Emirates by nine wickets chasing the 82 in 10.1 overs.  This match does not have anything thing to the tournament but has an academic interest as India tested their bench strength resting key bowlers.

Here are player ratings of Indian players

Bhuvneshwar Kumar: India restricted UAE for 82 runs, the lowest against any Asian country by the Emiratis. Bhuveneshwar Kumar has replaced  Ashish Nehra, who was rested before the Sunday’s final against Bangladesh, took two wickets conceding 8 runs in four overs. He caught and bowled Swapnil Patil.

Ratings: 4.5/5

Jasprit Bumrah: The most expensive Indian bowler in the match. Bumrah took one wicket and conceded 23 runs in four overs.

Ratings: 3/5

Hardik Pandya: The bowling all-rounder bowled three overs and conceded 11 runs and took one wicket. He took a catch as well.

Ratings: 3.5/4

Harbhajan Singh: The veteran spinner came in place of Ravichandran Ashwin. He bowled four over with a maiden and took one wicket for 11 runs. He also took one good catch.

Ratings: 3.5/5

Pawan Negi: The debutante bowler rolled his arm for three overs and conceded 16 runs and took one wicket. Negi also took two catches and involved in one run out with M S Dhoni.

Ratings: 3/5

Yuvraj Singh: The allrounder took one wicket in two overs and scored 25 runs off 14 balls that helped India to chased down the target 82 in 10.1 overs.

Ratings:4.5/5

Rohit Sharma: The swashbuckling opener scored 39 off 28 balls. When got out in the last delivery of the sixth over he was caught by Mohammad Naveed off the delivery of JKadeer Ahmed.

Ratings:4/5

Shikhar Dhawan: The southpaw was seen was struggling against UAE bowlers. He scored 16 runs off 20 balls.

Ratings: 2.5/5

Virat Kohli: The batting star did not have to bat today as captain MS Dhoni promoted Yuvraj at no.3. But, he took a stunning catch of opener Rohan Mustafa. Kohli also saved  a few runs as a fielder.

Ratings: 3/5

Suresh Raina: The left-handed batsman  also did not have to bat today as India lost only one wicket.  At slip, he took a good catch. But missed one.

Ratings: 2.5/5

MS Dhoni: Captain MS Dhoni’s decision to promote Yuvraj at No.3 was appreciated by everyone. Besides this Dhoni run out one and involved in another with Pawan Negi.

Ratings: 3/5

India vs UAE Asia Cup 2016 - Stats highlights
India vs UAE Asia Cup 2016 - Stats highlights
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India vs UAE Asia Cup 2016 – Stats highlights

After crushing UAE apart in Mirpur, India now awaits one last hurdle, against hosts Bangladesh. The game was just a dead rubber and as expected, the outing turned out to be an utterly one-sided encounter. UAE, on batting first, could manage a paltry 81 in the 20 overs and look clueless against the Indian pacers. Bhuvneshwar Kumar had a fruitful comeback to the Indian team as he resembled his old self of the good old days. He was swinging it both ways and bowled 2 maidens and took the same number of wickets.

Another man on a comeback, Harbhajan Singh too had a good outing, though he did not look fully in the groove. Debutant Pawan Negi got one wicket and showed signs of his abilities for the near future. India’s chase was just supposed to be a formality and that is how things exactly folded.

Rohit Sharma was once again flawless while his opening partner needed time to get going. Shikhar Dhawan might have been slow, but the time he spent in the middle was simply priceless considering the final against Bangladesh and the all important ICC World T20. Yuvraj Singh was promoted at number 3, and he finished it off with a boundary. Singh once again got going from the very first ball, and his current form is a danger sign for the opponents for the World T20.

Below, are the statistical highlights of the game between India and UAE.

59. This was the biggest win for India in terms of balls remaining. India chased down the target with 59 deliveries to spare.

 7*. India have now won 7 consecutive T20I’s away from home. Sri Lanka hold the record with 8 such wins.

 20. Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled 20 dot balls, the most for an Indian in T20I’s.

 4th. Yuvraj Singh became the fourth Indian to play 50 T20I’s.

 82.92%. India scored 82.92% of the runs in boundaries.

Twitter, Yuvraj Singh, UAE, MS Dhoni, India
MS Dhoni prompts Yuvraj Singh at No. 3 against UAE at Sher-e-Bangla National stadium, Dhaka.
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Twitter appreciates Dhoni’s move to promote Yuvraj at No. 3

People love Yuvraj Singh and this time against UAE captain MS Dhoni promoted him ahead of Virat Kohli to get into the groove before the final of Asia Cup T20. Yuvraj in the last match got back his old form back against Sri Lanka. He got back his confidence. Fans in twitter appreciated Dhoni’s move to promote Yuvraj at No. 3. And Yuvraj batted with elegant touch while India’s small chase to 82. Yuvraj Singh extraordinary batting is a good sign for India with the World T20 just a week away. India win the match by nine wickets. Rohit Sharma scored 39, Shikhar Dhawan 16 and Yuvraj Singh 25.

Pakistan, Asia Cup T20, BanvsPak, Shahid Afridi
A Pakistani fan tweet an image of Laggan movie.
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Pakistani fans make mockery of their national team after humiliating defeat to Bangladesh

Bangladesh bowlers restricted Pakistan for 129 for 9. Bangladesh bowlers Al-Amin Hossain and Taskin Ahmed ripped apart the top order of Pakistan. Al-Amin Hossain took three wickets and Arafat Sunny took two wickets. Commencing the bat Bangladesh batsman Soumya Sarkar played a pivotal innings that helped Bangladesh to enter the final of Asia Cup. Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi once again got out for a duck that provoked Twitterati to troll him.  During the fielding, he also failed to come out with innovative plans. But, Pakistani fans could not hide their pain. They made a mockery of their team and lost all hope. For Pakistani fans, their national team made their pride a dust.

Here is how twitter reacted:
But, Amir earned a place in a fan’s heart

 

This Pakistani fans could not hide his anger over the national side. 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, Akash Chopra once again made a grave mistake. A former Indian cricketer and a commentator,how could he forget Pakistani captain’s name?