The stage is set for the final of the Asia Cup 2018 as Bangladesh will square off against defending champions - India on the 28th of September. The ‘Bangla Tigers’ showed grit against Pakistan last evening as they restricted them for 202 runs for the loss of 9 wickets, after posting a modest total of 239.
Bangladesh were in a spot of bother thanks to the brilliance of Junaid Khan who was pivotal in Bangladesh’s fall of 3 early wickets for just 12 runs. Former captain Mushfiqur Rahim’s 99 along with Mohammed Mithun’s 60 steadied the ship once again, just as they did against Sri Lanka - through a 144 run partnership for the fourth wicket before Hasan Ali got Mithun out caught and bowled. The much needed batting stint between the two lead Bangladesh to a respectable total on a big Abu Dhabi ground.
Mustafizur Rehman proved to be the stand out bowler yet again as he scalped 4 Pakistani wickets and contributed immensely to Bangladesh advancing in the finals. But, Mortaza will be a worried skipper as his team will have to turn up against a solid Indian team in the final, without veteran opener Tamim Iqbal and his best all rounder option – Shakib al Hasan. Both set of players sustaining a finger injury during the campaign.
Meanwhile the men in blue carry on their undefeated run to the finals, after a scare from Afghanistan in their last game which ended up in a mind boggling tie. But, India would not be too disappointed with the last game, as the batsman apart from Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan got an opportunity to get some runs under their belt before the all important final. Ambati Raydu and KL Rahul managed to score fifties and struck some lusty blows in the middle. Dinesh Karthik looked in command out there before getting adjourned out LBW on what seemed to be a schoolboy decision form the umpire, just as he was six runs away from his fifty. Kedar Jhadav looked good too, but was unlucky as he got run out by Mujeeb in the most unluckiest manner.
India’s struggling ‘finisher’ MS Dhoni, couldn’t offer much with the bat either as he was sent back to the dressing room, courtesy another poor call from the umpire.
To India's advantage - Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Yuzvendra Chahal would all be fresh for their match against Bangladesh after sitting out the Afghanistan game.
The tournament started with six teams and now we’ve got two of the best, who will battle it out at the Dubai International Stadium for the prestigious Asia Cup Trophy.
About the Author
Comes from the United Arab Emirates, is a sports junkie and a journalist, who has been following cricket as well as football since childhood. Played cricket in academies, school, and university levels. A fanatic follower of one of Europe's biggest ever football clubs - Manchester United.