From being a one-sided affair, the India-Bangladesh clash has become a more tightly fought contest. Having won three of their four matches in the Nidahas Trophy, India go into the final as favourites. This despite the absence of several key players, including captain Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni. India, however, will have to be wary of Bangladesh’s ‘tenacity’, as wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik said on the eve of the final.
Most T20s come down to which team copes better with pressure. While Bangladesh have relied on their senior batsmen to bail them out, India have banked on youth. That their stand-in captain Rohit Sharma has also hit form bodes well for the side. Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik, and Manish Pandey have made cameos but the lower-middle order, which is largely untested is a cause for concern. If the chase gets tough, can Vijay Shankar and Washington Sundar step up with the bat?
The two allrounders, however, have been impressive with the ball and have complemented quick Shardul Thakur and legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal.
Bangladesh’s batting has revolved around Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah, who both shepherded successful chases against Sri Lanka and put the hosts out of the tri-series. Tamim Iqbal and Liton Das have shown flashes of brilliance but the pressure continues to mount on Soumya Sarkar and Sabbir Rahman.
Bangladesh’s bowling, meanwhile, has been a mixed bag. Mustafizur Rahman is their leading wicket-taker with six wickets but it is Rubel Hossain who has looked more threatening. Offspinner Mehidy Hasan, on the other hand, has managed only one wicket in 15 overs.
India WWWLW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
Washington Sundar will be looking forward to keep up his fine form in the Nidahas Trophy. He hasn’t conceded more than 28 runs in a game, and has troubled Bangladesh in the Powerplay.
Mustafizur Rahman started well against Sri Lanka on Friday but lost his lines and lengths in the end overs. India will still be wary of him, given his variations can he quite hard to pick.
Pitch and conditions
The chasing side has won all but one match in this tournament. A pitch favourable for batting is expected, again, and there is a chance that evening showers could interrupt play.
Stats and trivia
Mahmudullah is four runs short of completing 1000 in T20 internationals. He will be the fourth Bangladesh batsman to the milestone after Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim.
Washington Sundar, the highest wicket-taker in the tournament with seven wickets, has conceded only eight fours and three sixes in his 16 overs, of which 11 were bowled in the Powerplay. His economy rate in the tournament is 5.87.
Mustafizur Rahman has taken six wickets, but has conceded the most runs in the tournament, having given away 156. His economy rate is 9.75.
“I don’t know much about the wicket, but if the dew settles it’s much easier for the team that is chasing. If there’s no dew then it’s going to be a great game. If the wicket is slow and it’s going to turn, it will be a challenge.”
India wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik
“It is an important match but it is only just another match. We will go out there to win.” Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan