A shock-upset against Pakistan has seen Bangladesh progress through to the 2018 Asia Cup final where they’ll meet with India. This tournament needed a bit of a shaking up, and that’s exactly what the last two games of the super four delivered! In another plot twist, Afghanistan managed to draw their final match of the tournament which saw India’s dominant-winning streak come to an end. It looked as if India had the Asia Cup trophy in the bag, but all of a sudden Bangladesh are threatening to rain on their parade.
It’s been a momentous-effort from Bangladesh to reach the Asia Cup final given they were just one game away from being eliminated in the super four stage after India got the job done against them in Dubai, now they’re seeking revenge as they look to make history. Having never won an Asia Cup title before, Bangladesh supporters are expected to make their way to Dubai with a loud & proud mentality. As the underdog, they really have nothing to lose which could potentially out more pressure on the Indians to see off a dark horse such as Bangladesh. The Tigers will however be without star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan who has aggravated a finger injury, although his team did manage to get the job done against Pakistan without him which should give Bangladesh some confidence heading into this match. Speaking of that game, it was finally the breakout performance that everyone was anticipating at some point in the 2018 Asia Cup, speedster Mustafizur Rahman finally became the match-winner in Bangladesh’s most important game of the tournament. The 23-year-old set his sights on some big Pakistani names at the top of the order, and he didn’t disappoint. Claiming both Babar Azam and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed early in their innings, Mustafizur went on to take 4/43 in what was a standout performance. The entire bowling attack was brilliant, not one individual conceded over five runs an over and all but Mashrafe Mortaza managed to claim at least one wicket each. The biggest test against India will be how their batting line-up copes, their top order is realistically a liability given their middle order has done most of the damage so far. 31-year-old Mushfiqur Rahim has had a brilliant 2018 Asia Cup with the bat, notable performances against Sri Lanka (144) and just recently Pakistan (99) could see India target him. The rest of their batsmen have been hot and cold, Mahmudullah is probably the only other player who’s shown some consistency.
An out of control Mohammad Shahzad was the only thing standing in India’s way of making it all the way through this year’s Asia Cup undefeated, Mohammad Nabi’s fluent half century added to India’s troubles as they were set a reasonable run chase. In India’s defence, they did rest a majority of their first-choice players including skipper Rohit Sharma, in-form opener Shikhar Dhawan and fast bowling-duo Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. As their bench players looked to prove a point against Afghanistan, it was probably only KL Rahul who made a solid argument to retain his spot in the XI for the final, but that seems highly-unlikely given Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik also had solid outings at the top of the order and have both played majority of the tournament. Bangladesh proved to be difficult to handle with the ball in their last match against Pakistan, but India had no such problems against the Tigers when they last met losing just three wickets in 36.2 overs. Both Indian openers have been tremendous contributors in the tournament so far, Dhawan has surpassed the 300-run mark and Rohit has compiled 269 runs in his four innings with an average exceeding 100. On top of that, India’s middle order looks hungry for runs with the likes of Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik in reasonably good touch despite not spending a lot of time at the crease. Probably the most vulnerable area India will look to exploit early is Bangladesh’s top order. Opposition teams have been doing it for the entirety of the Asia Cup after Tamim Iqbal managed just one game before sustaining a fractured hand. The likes of Liton Das, Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Mominul Haque and now Soumya Sarkar have looked extremely vulnerable, something that India’s bowlers prey on. One of either Jasprit Bumrah or Bhuvneshwar Kumar could make a real mess of the opposition if their top order can’t show some fight, the task at hand will be just too great for the middle order resulting in an immense build-up of pressure coming their way.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Bangladesh | Asia Cup | final | Dubai
- Mushfiqur Rahim
- Mustafizur Rahman
- Mashrafe Mortaza
- Mohammad Mithun
Wildcard pick – Soumya Sarkar
Top 5 fantasy picks | India | Asia Cup | final | Dubai
- Shikhar Dhawan
- Jasprit Bumrah
- Rohit Sharma
- Ambati Rayudu
- Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Wildcard pick – MS Dhoni
Bangladesh (possible) – 1. Liton Das 2. Soumya Sarkar 3. Imrul Kayes 4. Mushfiqur Rahim (wk) 5. Mohammad Mithun 6. Mominul Haque/Mosaddek Hossain 7. Mahmudullah 8. Mehidy Hasan Miraz 9. Mashrafe Mortaza © 10. Rubel Hossain 11. Mustafizur Rahman.
India (possible) – 1. Rohit Sharma © 2. Shikhar Dhawan 3. Ambati Rayudu 4. Dinesh Karthik 5. MS Dhoni (wk) 6. Kedar Jadhav 7. Ravindra Jadeja 8. Kuldeep Yadav 9. Bhuvneshwar Kumar 10. Yuzvendra Chahal 11. Jasprit Bumrah.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.