India and Bangladesh are simply inseparable at the moment! The two teams shall now clash in the much awaited Asia Cup 2016 Final at Dhaka, tomorrow. While India recent run of form in T20s has made them favourites, Bangladesh’s hard fought victory against Pakistan should inspire them to put up a memorable fight on Sunday. What promises to make the contest a mouthwatering one is the packed crowd that the Sher-e-Bangla is likely to witness tomorrow!
India start as hot favourites, confident of tackling ‘green track’
If there is one aspect of the game that the Indian T20 team has learnt in the last one month, it would be the art of survival on green tracks. Even though the tried and tested formula of batting on such tracks is to “wait it out”, most T20 batsmen find it immensely difficult to be patient at the crease when they are not middling the ball properly. In Pune, against Sri Lanka last month, the Indian batsmen had made the mistake of being too hasty on a lush green track, and ultimately paid the price for it. They were jittery at the start of the Asia Cup too, and almost threw it away once again against Bangladesh.
India’s strategy of batting on green tracks perhaps underwent a radical change from thereon. While it was Rohit Sharma who stood out against Bangladesh, Virat Kohli weathered the storm against Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The other batsmen have somehow managed to stick with the standout player of the day and stitch match-winning partnerships. Since both India and Bangladesh now seem to have parity in their fast bowling ranks, it is likely that the quick adaptability of Indian batsmen to green conditions shall help them take the upper hand tomorrow.
Bangladesh upbeat, but face uphill task against India
The last 18 months have proved, beyond doubt, that Bangladesh are a force to reckon with at home. They have reinforced that dominance by beating both Sri Lanka and Pakistan in this tournament. Even though they lost against India in the previous encounter, the Bangla bowlers had the upper hand in the contest for quite some time. Al Amin Hossain and Taskin Ahmed would be expected to lead the bowling department once again, and put the explosive Indian top order under pressure early on. The likelihood of seeing Bangladesh dominate the first few overs is there, but it was after the 10-over mark where they had let India run away with the game last time. Shakib Al Hasan, though not in the best of form, would have a crucial role to play in helping Bangladesh stay in this contest during this period. This is especially important because India’s ability to attack in the last five overs gets reinforced when they have set batsmen at the crease.
As far as Bangladesh cricket is concerned, tomorrow’s match has the potential to mark a watershed moment in their short but checkered history.