Bangladesh managed to make it to the final after a tough battle with Sri Lanka. They are all set to face India, who have comfortably been the best side in the tournament so far despite their flaws. Bangladesh know they are the underdogs, but they have thrived in that image for a long time now.
India have their task cut out for them. They haven't lost since their opening match against Bangladesh, but they cannot afford to slip now. Bangladesh, on the other hand, need to keep their heads on their shoulders after reports emerged of broken glass in their dressing room after the previous match’s heated last over. Can they do the seemingly impossible, or will India predictably take the cup home?
Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Vijay Shankar, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohammed Siraj, Rishabh Pant
Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim, Sabbir Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Abu Jayed, Taskin Ahmed, Imrul Kayes, Nurul Hasan, Mehidy Hasan, Ariful Haque, Nazmul Islam, Abu Hider Rony, Liton Das, Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan (c)
Where the teams stand
For several matches in the tournament so far, the result has relied on which team can bat better, since all three teams possess mediocre attacks at best. However, this match is bound to be decided by a contest between India’s bowlers and Bangladesh’s batsmen. The last time these teams faced each other, Rahim stood tall valiantly till the end, keeping Bangladesh in the game before the scoreboard pressure exceeded his capabilities. Bangladesh have not been shy about relying their batting to get through matches, and this one will not be any different. Washington Sundar will be key for India. He has been their best bowler by far, and he took three wickets the last time these teams met. India’s pacers have been surprisingly expensive this series, and they will need to work on it to beat Bangladesh.
Both teams will want to chase no matter what given the superiority of their batting lineups over the bowling attacks. With both of India’s openers now performing, and their middle order having found their rhythm, this is not a side one wants to set a target for. This team is capable of chasing anything, even if it is over 200. KL Rahul is the only weak link in the otherwise consistent batting lineup. Even Rohit Sharma is somewhat suspect at the top, but the stand-in skipper played a good hand of 89 from 61 balls in his last match. If he can carry the form over to the last match along with Dhawan, who has been in great form all tournament, India will be a force to reckon with.
It is imperative for Bangladesh to win the toss on matchday. The return of Shakib has given them an all-rounder who can bowl 4 great overs, but the rest of the attack is still letting the team down. Rubel Hossain has been the pick of the pacers so far with Mustafizur disappointing heavily. Shakib himself was fantastic in the two overs he bowled on his return. Their 8 overs need to be the ones used strategically by the skipper.
Bangladesh’s batting has been a one-dimensional story all tournament. They have four batsmen they rely on for runs, and the contribution from the rest is considered bonus due to its scarcity. Tamim Iqbal at the top was crucial against Sri Lanka, and will be so against India as well, especially if Das falters. Soumya Sarkar is another batsman who Bangladesh will be lucky to see score some. Rahim, Mahudullah, and Shakib are the main walls of defense for Bangladesh. If last match was anything to go by, Shakib was reluctant to bat up the order, suggesting some lingering fitness issues. He can only hope that they are resolved by the final if his team are to win the cup. Unless the batting collapses, this match promises to be a thriller.
India win. Too obvious, but for a reason.
Will India close out the series or could Bangladesh snare an upset win? Let us know in the comments and poll below.