Bangladesh boosted with dramatic wins will take on high-flying India in the Nidahas T20I tri-nation series final at R Premadasa Cricket Stadium in Colombo Sunday.
Former world T20I champion India reached the grand finale backed by a hat-trick of wins after starting their campaign with a defeat against host Sri Lanka in the series opener earlier this month. On the other hand, Bangladesh have come into the gala event losing the two league phase matches to India. However, the Tigers got the better of the home side in both their matches, that too in dramatic fashion.
In their first encounter against the islanders, the Tigers had chased down a record 215 runs to win by five wickets while Friday, Bangladesh bagged a memorable two-wicket victory chasing 12 runs in the last over with a ball to spare to throw Sri Lanka out and set up a final date with India.
Bangladesh in the series have come a long way as far as synchronising the batting and bowling departments is concerned, in the process establishing their own brand of T20I cricket.
In the first two matches – against India and Sri Lanka respectively – a combined Tigers performance was missing. In the third and fourth games however, the harmony got better. The Tigers though are yet to reach perfection.
When the Tigers take on India, the former will look for that rare win against their neighbour in the shortest format of the game. In the seven T20I encounters against India, Bangladesh have lost all of them. The occasion is also the fifth for the Tigers of playing a multi-nation tournament final and there should be no doubts over the fact that the Tigers will be extremely desperate to get one over their rival.
The batsmen in the shape of Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah and Liton Das will be expected to make an impact. The quartet have been key for Bangladesh at different times in the series. Bangladesh T20I captain Shakib al Hasan, who returned to the national fold in the last game after recovering from finger injury, will be expected to lead and guide the bowlers throughout the innings. And there will hope that the ace all-rounder as a captain will not show the backfooted attitude that he had exhibited in the previous game.
As for India, the side despite being a second-string one with regular members missing, will not like to tolerate a defeat against the lower-ranked Tigers. The Indians will expect their interim skipper Rohit Sharma to lead from the front and replicate his form in their previous encounter against the same opposition Wednesday.
Rohit is coming into the game after smashing a brilliant half-century against the Tigers. The right-handed opener was supported by the veteran left-hander Suresh Raina as India edged Bangladesh by 17 runs to confirm a berth in the final.
Among the bowlers, teenaged off-spinner Washington Sundar will be expected to do his job of exploiting the powerplay overs, alongside leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. If India are to restrict the Bangladeshis, the rookie pace department, comprising Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur and all-rounder Vijay Shankar will need to complement the spin duo.
Head to head
T20Is played - 7
Bangladesh wins - 0
India wins - 7
Win % - Bangladesh (0), India (100)
Most runs - Sabbir Rahman (Bangladesh, 159), Rohit Sharma (India, 300)
HS - Mushfiqur Rahim (Bangladesh, 72*), Rohit (89)
Most wickets - Al Amin Hossain (Bangladesh, 7), Ravichandran Ashwin (India, 6)
BBI - Al Amin (3/37), Pragyan Ojha (India, 4/21)