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India start favourites against resolute Bangladesh
Asia Cup 2018

India start favourites against resolute Bangladesh

India will be starting as favourites when they come up against Bangladesh in the finals of the Asia Cup. Their performance in all three departments has been clinical. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan will be a threat for Bangladesh bowlers at the top of the order as the duo has scored plenty of runs.

India came into the tournament with the aim of finalising their middle order ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. While India have tried out few players in the middle order, the ability to handle pressure in a tough chase, like was the case against Afghanistan who set India 253 to win, is still questionable and can be tested out in tough situations.

As far as India’s bowling is concerned, the likes of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav will test out Bangladesh in middle overs, while the duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah can be tough to go after in the opening overs as well as death overs like we witnessed against Pakistan.

On the other hand, Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza called on his players to ignore the absence of veteran stars Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan when they face defending champions India in Friday's Asia Cup final.

Bangladesh upset Pakistan by 37 runs in the last Super Four match in Abu Dhabi to book a place in the final for just the second time. Without their established opener Tamim (fractured wrist) -- injured after the first game -- and world class all-rounder Shakib (fractured finger), the Tigers will pin their hopes on younger players to shock the six-time champions.

"It will be tough without Tamim and Shakib," admitted Mortaza on Thursday. The good thing is that the boys have fought very hard so I hope they fight till the last ball and give us a win which will inspire the whole nation. India are far better team (than us)," said Mashrafe. "They are coming here as the favourites so we have to be mentally strong and fight till the last ball."

Bangladesh have beaten India in only five of 34 one-day internationals but one of them came in the 2012 Asia Cup on their way to the final when they lost to Pakistan by two runs.

Bangladesh will look to their former captain Mushfiqur Rahim to lift their batting, like he did in the win against Sri Lanka with a battling 144 and against Pakistan when he hit 99.

The wicket-keeper batsman has 297 runs at 74.35 with one century, and his 99 against Pakistan on Wednesday acted as a catalyst in Bangladesh's victory after they were 12/3 in the fifth over.

Left-arm paceman Mustafizur Rahman is in good wicket-taking form, claiming 4-43 against Pakistan.

Players to watch out for

Rohit Sharma (India)

The stand-in India captain will look to continue his golden run in the tournament. Being the second-highest run scorer for India with 269 runs at 134.50, he will look to extend his form whereas Bangladesh have to get rid of him early.

Mushfiqur Rahim (Bangladesh)

Bangladesh's go-to man on most occasions will have to do it one more time and especially so in the absence of Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan.

Squads

India

Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Khaleel Ahmed, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Manish Pandey, KL Rahul, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Siddarth Kaul

Bangladesh

Mashrafe Mortaza (c), Mohammad Mithun, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Ariful Haque, Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain, Nazmul Hossain, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nazmul Islam, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Abu Hider, Mominul Haque, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes