Tricky Bangla test for India

Tricky Bangla test for India

Dhoni and company start strong favourites against hosts in today's final

Tricky Bangla test for India

One would not like to be an Indian in Bangladesh on Sunday. The country is gripped in an intoxicating blend of cricket and national fervor, and chances are you would be viewed as a rival from the opposition camp.

Asia Cup T20 final is a mini-battle for them, India are the favourites, but the hosts are burning with ambition to cause another upset and clinch their maiden title in a multi-nation tournament.

It is no secret that 25,000 capacity Sher-e- Bangla stadium would be bursting at its seams on the final day, but there would be an equal number flocking the roads outside the stadium, and climbing the rooftops circumventing the ground. Ahead of the much-awaited tie, a picture of Bangladeshi fast bowler Taskin Ahmed holding the chopped head of India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been doing rounds in social media. It is just a small peek into the extent cricket can flare passions here, at times even bordering on fanaticism. Here, a common man is desperate for Bangladesh victory and wants to be assured of the same.

No surprises then that hostility would be served liberally to the Indians who calmly went through their training on Saturday. They have kicked into form before the World T20 and there is hardly any chink in their T20 unit. From their tour Down under, they have conjured a winning streak and had they not lost their opening match against Sri Lanka in Pune, they would have got a perfect score in their last 10 matches. The roles in the team are settled, so much that it was only in their previous outing against the UAE could they even think of experimenting. Ashish Nehra, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja would make a comeback to the regular XI after making way for those on the bench.

The Indian team has given an all-round show in the tournament and is the only team which has managed to keep its slate clean. Perhaps the only worry for them would be the form of Shikhar Dhawan at the top. While Rohit Sharma has been among the runs to be the top scorer for India with 137 runs, Dhawan has struggled. Not once in the tournament, the two openers have fired in tandem with Virat Kohli invariably doing the repair work. The form of Kohli indeed has been reassuring for India and took them out of jail more than once. With Yuvraj Singh regaling with his lucid strokeplay in the last two matches, Indian batting has managed to underline its dominance.

Hardik Pandya, with his allround ability, has been giving an impressive account of himself. The new-ball pair of Nehra and Jasprit Bumrah have taken care of bowling worries by getting the side early impetus and taking care of death overs. The spinners had a limited role to play in the conditions here and it won’t be surprising if another green track awaits India.

The Bangladesh pace attack of Taskin Ahmed, Al-Amin Hossain and captain Mashrafe Mortaza has revealed on such tracks and have played a significant role in the team’s recent success. Their thrilling win over Pakistan, without their best bowler Mustafizur Rahman, has boosted their confidence after their poor T20 record had prompted many to write them off even before the tournament. Under the inspiring leadership of Mortaza, they have changed perceptions and gained respect. Bangladesh are on rise and fast becoming a force to reckon with in Asia.

Their batting lacks a bit of experience though they have quality in Soumya Sarkar, Tamim Iqbal, Sabbir Rahman with Mahmdullah Riyad fulfilling the role of an all-rounder. On Sunday, it would also come down to how this young side copes under immense home pressure.

Going by the statistics, experience and rankings, India, the No. 1 T20 side, have everything going for them. Bangladesh, ranked No. 10,  are yet to match India’s balance. But then when has sport kept itself limited to the boundaries of mere numbers?

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