Stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma’s Team India will take on familiar foes Bangladesh in the summit clash of the Asia Cup 2018 in Dubai on Friday. India, who are unbeaten in the tournament so far, will be aiming for their 7th continental title, while Bangladesh will be hoping to cross the final hurdle on their third attempt. A gritty Bangladesh beat Pakistan by 37 runs in their last Super Four encounter to move to the final of the Asia Cup for the third time in the last four editions.
Bangladesh’s journey to the top was not an easy one as they lost one of their group games to Afghanistan and their first Super Four clash to India. They also lost their star players Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan, both of whom are ruled out due to injuries.
On the other hand, India start as favourites with their powerful batting line-up and lethal bowling attack. They thrashed arch-rivals Pakistan in two matches to get closer to another title.
On paper, India will remain overwhelming favourites but Bangladesh have a tendency of punching above their weight. They even wrecked the prospects of an India-Pakistan summit clash with a gutsy performance on Wednesday.
As far as Indo-Bangla cricketing rivalry is concerned, it has grown in intensity over the years and the final can surely be expected to be another blockbuster contest between the two neighbours.
In spite of their passion and determination, numbers are in India’s favour as Bangladesh have beaten the Asian heavyweights in only five of the 34 One-day Internationals. One match ended in a tie.
As far as Asia Cup is concerned, India have won 10 of the 11 matches. India’s loss came in the 2012 Asia Cup on their way to the final.
Virat Kohli, with 654 runs in 11 Asia Cup matches has the highest run aggregate for India in the tournament, while Musfiqur Rahim has scored 599 runs 20 matches.
In the bowling department, India’s Ajit Agarkar has 16 wickets to his name in eight matches. Skipper Mashrafe Mortaza has been Bangladesh’s most successful bowler in the tournament with 22 wickets in 18 matches.