Asia Cup 2018 has been a mixture of everything. A little bit of drama, a couple of close games, some individual heroics. And to add to that the quality of cricket from all the teams have been exemplary. Only one more match remains to be played in the tournament. The Big Final. India take on Bangladesh for the elusive trophy at The Dubai International Stadium tomorrow.
India have been dominant from the start of the tournament playing exceptionally well in all the three departments of the game. The Indian bowling unit has been in top form. Other than the first match against Hong Kong, the bowlers have been ruthless in all other matches. Scoring against this Indian bowling line up has been the toughest task in this year’s tournament.
Pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have been economical throughout the tournament as well as have picked up wickets at regular intervals. Spin twins Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have been too hard to hit away. The inclusion of Ravindra Jadeja in the later half has provided The Blues with another lethal bowler. Jadeja has made an impressive comeback to the National side after a 15 months absence from ODI cricket. He has taken 7 wickets in 3 matches since his inclusion in the side.
Talking about the batting of team India, openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan have been in prime form. Both of them have got plenty of runs under their belts in the tournament. Dhawan is the leading run scorer with 327 runs in 4 matches which includes two aggressive centuries. Rohit too has a century to his name and has played a couple of match winning knocks. Ambati Rayudu has also been in impressive form. The CSK player has two half centuries to his name in the series. However the rest of the Indian batting line up has been not up to the mark. Dinesh Karthik has had a few starts but has not looked convincing. Ex captain MS Dhoni has not had many chances to bat in the series. Kedar Jadhav too looks in a dismal form.
The middle order has been a real problem for Team India recently. The absence of a proper number 4 is very concerning for the team. The batting has been carried by Rohit and Dhawan throughout the tournament with Rayudu assisting them in bits and pieces.
Erstwhile Bangladesh have had a topsy-turvy tournament. They started their Asia Cup journey with a bang. A heroic century from Mushfiqur Rahim helped them thrash Sri Lanka. But two successive heavy defeats against Afghanistan and India put their chances of making it to the finals in a jeopardy. However they bounced back and did it in style. They first defeated Afghanistan in a closely contested match. Mustafizur Rahman bowled an exceptional last over to restrict the Afghans to four runs when they needed eight to win.
In their last match which was a potential semi final, they defeated Pakistan by 37 runs to make it to the finals. Mushfiqur Rahim has been the man for crisis for Bangladesh. The wicket keeper batsman has single-handedly led them to two victories. He’s the second highest run-getter in the tournament. Bangladesh’s top order looks a little depleted. The inability to muster runs at the top of the innings has put a lot of pressure on the middle order. Bangladesh will be without two key players in the finals. Tamim Iqbal and Sakib Al Hasan have been ruled with injuries. Bangladesh bowling has been decent hitherto.
India are the only undefeated side in the tournament. However they have had a tie in the last match against Afghanistan. India have lived up to the tournament favourites mark. But the good work still needs to be carried. Rohit Sharma would be licking his lips as he sees an opportunity to lead the side to a major trophy. Bangladesh have performed exceptionally to make it to the finals. And they will be looking to break the duck and finally have a major trophy to their name.
Probable Playing XI:
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma (C), Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (WK), Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal.
Bangladesh: Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim(WK), MoMohammad Mithun, Imrul Kayes, Mahmudullah, Mehdi Hasan, Mashrafe Mortaza (C), Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman.