Hosts Bangladesh will lock horns with hot favourites India in the final of the Asia Cup 2016 on Sunday as the Tigers aim to win a major trophy for the first time in their cricket history.
The teams did meet in the group stages where five-time Asian champions India outplayed Chandika Hathurusingha’s boys by 45 runs, but Bangladesh will find some encouragement in the fact that their opponents lost three of their last four Asia Cup finals.
The previous Asia Cups were ODIs though, but this year the tournament adopted the T20 format, which is yet to see Bangladesh record a win against India in three attempts.
But Bangladesh go into the final on the back of three straight wins, and given the way they eased past the likes of traditional super powers Sri Lanka and Pakistan, there is no reason they cannot dream of a first trophy.
“If we can play up to our potential, good things are possible. I would say it’s a 50-50 game,” AFP quoted speedster Taskin Ahmed as saying.
And India skipper MS Dhoni is well aware of this fact as well. “In this format the difference between the two teams can often be just one knock, one individual having a very good day or one bowler having a very good day,” Dhoni said.
Bangladesh will need to remove opener Rohit Sharma early, as he has a habit of doing good against the Tigers in the T20s, with scores of 36, 56 and 83 made in the three matches the sides met.
The hosts will be missing the services of Mustafizur Rahman, but in Taskin Ahmed and Al-Amin Hossain the Tigers have two bowlers who can unsettle any opponent batting line-up with their pace. Shakib Al Hasan did not have the best of his tournaments so far, but he will be determined to make his mark as well.
Four years back, Bangladesh suffered the biggest heart breaks in their cricket history, when they had to digest a two-run loss to Pakistan in the 2012 Asia Cup final.
In the last match where a Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and Mahmudullah-inspired win sealed the Tigers’ place in this edition’s final, they did banish the ghosts of 2012.
Sunday’s final will be played on the same ground, Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, where a maiden T20 win over India can officially trumphet a new era.
They could not beat India in three attempts, but who says they cannot make it fourth time lucky? – News Desk