Mirpur: India, unstoppable so far with clinical performances, will square off against a passionate and sprightly Bangladesh in their quest for continental supremacy in the final of the Asia Cup here on Sunday. (Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh Guide India to Asia Cup Final)
On paper, India are overwhelming favourites as the ICC rankings (India’s 1st vs Bangladesh’s 10th) suggests. But it counts for little in the shortest format, wherein the complexion of the game can change in a matter of one over. (Asia Cup: Bangladesh Thrash Pakistan to Set Up Final Against India) .Cricket fans around the world always look forward to an India vs Pakistan clash.
Bangladesh, which goes crazy just like cricket-mad India when its team not just wins but performs on home soil with even the country’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina watching cricket, is certainly emerging as forced to be reckoned with by storming into the Asia Cup final with wins over Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Their only defeat came at the hands of tournament favourites and top-ranked T20 team India who rode on a brilliant half century by Rohit Sharma (83) to win by 45 runs.
But they are no longer minnows of world cricket and play an exciting brand of cricket having explosive batsmen in the calibre of Tamim Iqbal, Sabbir Rahman, Soumya Sarkar and all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan though they may lack firepower with Mustafizur Rahman being sidelined with injury.
Bangladesh also thrive on home advantage energised by the crowds whose roar can rise to a crescendo as they back the Tigers to the hilt.
Dhoni will have to keep his cool if India are to pull it off against a fast-rising team who have a swagger about them and playing with a freedom since they have nothing to lose.