India and Bangladesh have never met in the Asia Cup final. The last time Bangladesh made it to the final a few years back, they narrowly missed out on winning the trophy against Pakistan in a pulsating final. The fact that Bangladesh have again made it to the summit clash, and that too despite of the change in format this time, signals significant progress in the team’s fortunes, especially while playing at home. India will definitely go into the final at Mirpur as favourites. But, the T20 format is such that even one special performance can decide the result, so Bangladesh would be silently confident.
India go into the final having won all their league matches, most of them rather comfortably. They have been in excellent form in all departments of the game. Before the Australia series began, pace bowling was the big worry for India. But, just a couple of months later, things seem much brighter. The decision to recall Ashish Nehra has definitely proved to be a fruitful one. He has struck early, picking a wicket in the power play overs in the last seven T20 matches that he has played. Nehra has been brilliantly supported by Jasprit Bumrah, whose pace and accuracy has been tough for opponents to handle.
There aren’t a lot of worries for India in the batting department either. Virat Kohli cannot seem to do anything wrong in 2016. And to think of it, he has been rarely out of form except that one disastrous tour to England. Rohit Sharma too has got back among the runs, and he too was in excellent form in Australia. Yuvraj Singh’s whirlwind innings against Sri Lanka means he too has regained some confidence. But, India still need to ensure that it all comes together in the final. Also, Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina haven’t looked comfortable out in the middle.
While Bangladesh would be pleased to be in the final, they really have nothing to lose on Super Sunday. They just need to go out and play their best game, and hope for the best. The biggest worry for Bangladesh is the fitness of Shakib Al Hasan, who limped off the field in the last game. As it is, Shakib hasn’t been in good form with the bat, so that too will be a cause for concern for the hosts. There is a chance that Bangladesh might bring in BPL hero Abu Hider as the surprise factor for the final. Also, all-rounder Nasir Hossain could come in for Mohammad Mithun.
Bangladesh would be pleased with their batting, and will want the top order to fire in the final. Tamim Iqbal is a match-winner while Soumya Sarkar has also won Bangladesh a match with the bat. In Sabbir Rahman, they have a quality number three, who can play according to the situation while Mahmudullah has chipped in nicely as finisher. Bangladesh’s bowling too has been impressive. Al-Amin Hossain has constantly been among the wickets while Taskin Ahmed has been spectacular with the ball, bowling some special spells. They might find it tough against India. But, as mentioned before, they have nothing to lose.
--By A Cricket Analyst