India and Bangladesh are all set to battle it out in a cracking finale amid the searing temperatures in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the ongoing Asia Cup 2018. Defending champions India go into the tie as the favourites as they look to inflict a defeat on last edition’s runners-up Bangladesh.
If India have played some consistent brand of cricket and have outpoured oppositions, the same cannot be said of the Tigers. Bangladesh huffed and puffed to notch two victories and make it to the summit clash. Bangladesh will be hungry though to avenge defeat in both the 2016 Asia Cup and the 2018 Nidahas Trophy.
Overall, India have the bragging rights over the Tigers in terms of the head-to-head encounters. Bangladesh have won just five matches against the Men in Blue out of 35 contests in ODI cricket. Here we look at the players that can have maximum impact.
Rohit Sharma (India)
The 31-year-old Indian stand-in skipper has done a fantastic job so far and when he is on song, he is unstoppable. He has already bagged 269 runs in 4 matches so far and got the much-needed rest against Afghanistan.
Expect him to come out fresh and strong. Bangladesh cannot let Rohit get off to a strong start, otherwise, they could be in for some big trouble.
Shikhar Dhawan (India)
An in-form Dhawan can take the momentum away from any side in a flash. He has done that so many times during this series. asDhawan has been amongst the runs and has smashed two tons already.
With 327 runs under his belt, he is already the highest run-scorer in the Asia Cup 2018. He will be hoping to get to a strong start and compliment Rohit well atop.
Jasprit Bumrah (India)
The right-arm fast bowler has been putting in the work both at the top and the death. With his ability to bowl yorkers and at the hole consistently, his presence is crucial.
Bumrah will target the Bangladeshi openers with them being badly out of form. He is excellent in drying up the runs as well and that bodes well for the spinners coming in. His economy rate of 3.37 tells the story.
Mushfiqur Rahim (Bangladesh)
He is the most crucial player for the side in terms of both calibre and experience. Rahim has been in form and has got the runs to give him the much needed boost. In a much-win scenario against Pakistan, he helped the team with a splendid show of 99.
He has amassed 297 runs already and is a busy player always looking to make the time count. Rotation of strike will be key.
Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh)
Fizz might have struggled to find his rhythm and length early on in the series, but he struck gold when it mattered most. That’s what champion players do. His 4/47 against Pakistan in the Super Four virtual semi-final, helped Bangladesh knock the Men in Green and defend a target of 240. Mustafizur will be aiming to make it count and play a huge role in determining the win for India.
Meanwhile the tie will also see some key battles which can determine the game. Here we decode the same.
Key battles in the final
Mustafizur vs Rohit: Bangladesh premier pacer Mustafizur Rahman will test Rohit with the new ball. Fizz has got him out on 4 occasions previously. Rohit has a knack of getting into trouble against left-arm pacers with their ball coming in and we saw that earlier in 2017 Champions Trophy against Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir. New Zealand bowler Trent Boult has also made him struggle.
Mortaza vs MS Dhoni: Mashrafae Mortaza has accounted for Dhoni thrice in ODIs and he will be raring to have a crack at the veteran Indian wicket-keeper batsman. What bodes well for Mortaza is that MS isn’t in prime form with the bat and his runs have dried up. The Bangladeshi skipper has the extra bit of pace and accuracy to unsettle Dhoni at the start of his innings.
Jadeja vs Mushfiqur: Playing his first match in 14 months for India in the ODI format, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja picked up the crucial wicket of Mushfiqur. The senior player was looking set and carrying on nicely, but tried out the unorthodox reverse-sweep to lose sheen. Jadeja has impressed with 7 wickets to his name and there could be another pivotal show.
But let’s not rule out Mushfiqur. He maintains a healthy record against the spinner with 90 runs in 124 deliveries in Odis. Therefore there’s everything to play for.