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All the hype of an India-Pakistan final in a multination tournament were put to rest by Bangladesh when they defeated Pakistan in a do-or-die Super Four game. The previous two India-Pakistan encounters turned out to be a fizzless contest and everyone were hoping for a high octane finale between these two teams. But Bangladesh had other plans as they deservingly beat Pakistan to go through to their third Asia cup finals.
India have been dominating throughout this tournament, convincingly beating each team apart from a minor hiccup when a spirited Afghanistan team stunned everyone with an inspiring performance to tie the game with India. India, however, had rested half of the team, resting as many as 5 of their players for that game giving opportunities to others and testing their bench strength. But all the 5 players will certainly be back in the XI for the finals after a good rest and be hoping to help India in clinching their seventh Asia Cup.
Talking about the teams, India's first team players haven't put a foot wrong in this tournament. The openers, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan have scored the bulk of runs leaving very little for the middle order to do. But Rayudu and Karthik have also performed in the limited opportunities they got. In the bowling department, Bumrah has been exceptional and Bhuvneshvar Kumar was also seen in his true colours after a quiet show in his first game against Hong Kong. The wrist spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have been difficult to get away with and even when they don't get their names in the wicket column, they make sure to be miserly and keep the run rate in check. Hardik Pandya's replacement Ravindra Jadeja has fit in very well in this set up delivering crucial performances helping the team win. The only concern for team India is their middle-order. The openers have done so well that the middle-order has hardly been tested and they failed to take India to the finish line in the only opportunity they got in their previous game against Afghanistan. If the openers have a bad day in the finals, there can be pressure on the middle order and it'll be intriguing to see how they respond.
On the other hand, the Bangladesh team has been very inconsistent in their Asia Cup campaign so far. It can also attribute to the fact that they lost their best top order batsman, Tamim Iqbal in the very first game and since then, Bangladesh have failed to have good starts with the bat. Bangladesh were affected with another gloomy news when their star all-rounder Shakib al Hasan was ruled out from the remainder of the tournament. Bangladesh have managed to come to this far riding on performances of Mushfiqur Rahim and Mustafizur Rahman and both of them will remain to be the key for their team. India have been professional so far and won't take any player for granted but they'll certainly have plans to counter these two players who've been in good form so far.
The match is in Dubai, where India have played all their matches of Asia Cup so far. The pitch plays better under lights and the captain winning the toss will most likely choose to bowl first. We can expect a full house in the stadium as both these teams have good support in the city. India definitely start as favourites but we all have seen the rise of Bangladesh over the years and they have come close to beating India in major tournaments in multiple occasions.
Who will come on top and take away the coveted trophy home? Catch all the action from the Finals of the Unimoni Asia Cup between India and Bangladesh at Dubai Internation Stadium in Dubai, Friday, 28th September, 5:00 PM IST.