Dubai: Bangladesh will be looking to claim their first-ever Asia Cup title when they face the defending champions India in the final of Asia Cup 2018 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Friday.
They will be going head-to-head in the second consecutive Asia Cup final. The Indians recorded a comprehensive eight-wicket victory over the Tigers in the 2016 edition final, which was played in the T20 format.
While in their most recent clash on September 21, the Men in Blue once again inflicted a heavy defeat on Bangladesh. After opting to field first, India wrapped up the Tigers innings for 173 and then knocked off their target inside 37 overs.
Now both teams find themselves in another title clash as they aim to be Asian champions. So one may expect both teams to come out blazing in order to get their hands on prestigious trophy.
India have had it relatively straightforward after a scare in the first outing, against Hong Kong. In all these games, they were helped by strong starts from Dhawan and Sharma, both of whom have at least one century so far.
Against Afghanistan as well, the new opening combination of KL Rahul and Ambati Rayudu added 110 runs for the first wicket, but some disciplined bowling saw India slide from there to 166/4 and then again from 204/4 to 226/7, showing that they were fallible in the middle overs if put under sufficient pressure.
The top order will be the hurdle for Bangladesh, and if they can get the Sharma and Dhawan out for not many, things might get interesting.
As far as bowling is concerned, India are settled with all of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav and Jadeja among the wickets.
Bangladesh have their own issues to deal with. It has been a haphazard tournament for them, where they have had to dig deep and fight themselves out of precarious situations. There have been hospital visits, reinforcements flying in from home, and injuries at crucial junctures.
That Bangladesh are still in the final despite two of their most experienced men out is, in most parts, down to the third major wheel of Bangladesh batting machine – Mushfiqur Rahim.
The wicket-keeper batsman has 297 runs at 74.35 with one century, and his 99 against Pakistan on Wednesday acted as a catalyst in Bangladesh's victory after they were 12/3 in the fifth over.
India: Rohit Sharma (Capt.), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Lokesh Rahul, Manish Pandey, Deepak Chahar, Siddarth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed
Bangladesh: Liton Das (wk), Soumya Sarkar, Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mohammad Mithun, Imrul Kayes, Mahmudullah, Mehidy Hasan, Mashrafe Mortaza (Capt.), Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Abu Hider Rony, Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Nazmul Islam, Mosaddek Hossain, Ariful Haque
Pitch and conditions
The weather will be no different in the final, with a maximum temperature of 41 degrees.
Stats and trivia
Friday, 28 September 2018
Start time: 1530 local (1130 GMT, 5pm IST)