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Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019

India vs Bangladesh, Asia Cup final: Key player battles to watch out for

There will be interesting subplots in the match and who emerges on top in these battles could well determine the result of the final.

cricket Updated: Sep 28, 2018 14:37 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Indian Cricket team captain Rohit Sharma plays a shot during the one day international (ODI) Asia Cup cricket match between Pakistan and India
Indian Cricket team captain Rohit Sharma plays a shot during the one day international (ODI) Asia Cup cricket match between Pakistan and India(AFP)

While Shikhar Dhawan tried to drive home the point that India will not take Bangladesh lightly in the all-important finals, there is little doubt that Rohit Sharma’s team enter the game as overwhelming favourites.

Bangladesh were convincing in their win against Pakistan, but they are without Tamim Iqbal and Shakib, and against an in-form Indian team, they need to be at their absolute best.

We take a look at three key player battles, which in many ways, will go a long way in determining the eventual result of the match.

Mustafizur Rahman vs Rohit Sharma

Leading into the tournament, there were concerns over Rohit Sharm’a record against left-arm seam bowlers who got the ball to nip back in after pitching. The Indian captain has tried to counter it by opening his stance and allowing to ball to seam back in instead of taking the first stride and looking for the ball. This has yielded dividends as he has plundered runs for fun in the tournament.

However, he will be up against his Mumbai Indians teammate in Mustafizur Rahman, who has been Bangladesh’s best bowler in the tournament. On slow, sluggish pitches Mustafizur has got his radar correct and has varied his pace with dexterity which can pose a threat to Rohit’s free-flowing strokes.

A battle within a battle, by all means.

Kuldeep Yadav vs Mushfiqur Rahim

For Bangladesh, their dimunutive wicket-keeper batsman has been the main man in the batting order. He has carried the team on his shoulders for two matches and is the sole reason why Bangladesh have made it to the finals. With 297 runs in four matches, he is the second-highest run-scorer in the tournament and will hold the key all over again in the finals.

His biggest threat will be the spin of Kuldeep Yadav and if the tied match against Afghanistan is anything to go by, the pitch should turn and assist his deliveries which will this contest an intriguing watch.

Jasprit Bumrah vs Mahmudullah

For Bangladesh, Mahmudullah is their designated finisher, and perhaps their most accomplished batsman lower down the order. He has the ability to pick gaps and keep the strike moving and then use the long handle to get the score scuttling along.

Things might not be very easy for him as he will be up against the guile of Jasprit Bumrah, the number 1 bowler in ODI cricket. He will not make life easy for the batsmen and perhaps, will be India’s X-factor in the death overs.

First Published: Sep 28, 2018 14:29 IST