India made a mockery of the United Arab Emirates’ paltry total of 81/9 as they got home with nine wickets and 9.5 overs to spare in an Asia Cup Twenty20 global cricket encounter at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium here on Thursday. The Indians have seemed virtually unstoppable in this tournament. The Indian bowlers picked up five wickets. Home fans are extremely upbeat about the team’s chances against MS Dhoni’s men – to the extent that a morphed graphic photo of pacer Taskin Ahmed holding Dhoni’s chopped head is spreading like wildfire online. Then there is the tussle between the experienced Ashish Nehra and the Bangladesh batsmen. He brought India’s winning runs with a brilliant four behind square.
MS Dhoni, India’s captain, thinks Bangladesh’s greatest advantage will lie less in the noise their supporters make, than their knowledge of the conditions. The only point of concern is continuing poor form of opener Shikhar Dhawan. They have improved their strength. Placed at the top of the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings, India are overwhelming favourites on paper against the 10th ranked hosts.
That is the view of Ravi Shastri, India’s team director, who believes the atmosphere in Mirpur will be as much of a motivation for his side as it will Bangladesh.
A master plot always has sub-plots and this final will be no different.
The Indian team has enjoyed a series of consistent performances in the shorter version of the game this year which has also propelled them to the tournament final. Bangladesh have since recovered to beat UAE, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan as well.
Shakib Al Hasan fell in the first ball of the ninth over bowled by Ashwin. They have remains loss-less so far and have had no major upsets or setbacks.
UAE had no answer to India’s disciplined bowling effort with the second string attack of Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2/8 in 4 overs), Jasprit Bumrah (1/23 in 4 overs), Hardik Pandya (1/11 in 3 overs), Harbhajan Singh (1/11 in 4 overs) and Pawan Negi (1/16) putting relentless pressure on the inexperienced opposition. Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Abu Hider, Al-Amin Hossain, Arafat Sunny, Imrul Kayes, Mahmudullah, Mohammad Mithun, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Nasir Hossain, Nurul Hasan (wk), Sabbir Rahman, Shakib Al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar, Tamim Iqbal, Taskin Ahmed.