India are on a roll. They have nine out of their last 10 Twenty20 matches and in the 2016 Asia Cup, they are the only team who remained undefeated. Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men look invincible ahead of their clash in the final on Sunday. (Asia Cup: Five Key Battles That Could Decide the Final)
Had it been the first decade of this millennium, the contest would have been a no-brainer – with India being the overwhelming favourites to thrash the minnows. But, a lot has changed in the last couple of years as Bangladesh have proven themselves to be one of the most improved sides in world cricket. (Asia Cup 2016: MS Dhoni Ready For Bangladesh in Final)
It all started with their entry into 2015 ICC World Cup quarter-final, which included a win over England. Since then, at home they defeated Pakistan (3-0), India (2-1), South Africa (2-1) and Zimbabwe (3-0) in the ODI series.
Dhoni’s last series outing in Bangladesh in June, 2015, ended on a sour note. India were given a reality check as they encountered a Bangladesh side that was shaking off their minnows status with a swagger in the ODI series. Rain also dealt a blow to their chances of winning the one-off Test.
However, Dhoni exacted a revenge in the opening match of the Asia Cup against Bangladesh as India won by 45 runs. In the last five outing, irrespective of formats, India have won two matches while Bangladesh also have two to their credit, while one match was a draw. So, whoever wins the Asia Cup final, will have the boasting rights in this clash.
We take a look at the teams’ last five matches, for the possible heroes in the all-important title clash.
1. India beat Bangladesh by 45 Runs – Twenty20I, (Mirpur, Februray 24, 2016)
Rohit Sharma’s 50-ball 83 ensured that India posted a challenging 166/6 against Bangladesh. While Al-Amin Hossain (3/37) was the best Bangladeshi bowler, India’s Ashish Nehra (3/23) bowled brilliantly to take his team to a comfortable win and give India a great start in the Asia Cup.
2. India beat Bangladesh by 77 runs – ODI (Mirpur, June 24, 2015)
Shikhar Dhawan (75) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (69) took India to 317/6. Suresh Raina’s 21-ball 38 also helped India finish on a high. Raina contributed with the ball too as he returned with figures of 3/45 to dismiss Bangladesh for 240. Ravichandran Ashwin also picked two wickets, but it was an inconsequential tie.
3. Bangladesh beat India by six wickets – ODI (Mirpur, June 21, 2015)
Bangladesh’s new sensation, Mustafizur, backed up his five-wicket haul in the first ODI with another haul of 6/43 and his exploits restricted India to just 200. Apart from Dhawan (53) and Dhoni (47), most of India’ batsmen could not put up a resistance. Bangladesh had to reach the target in 47 overs, due to the D/L method, but they completed the task in just 38 overs. It was their maiden series win over India.
4. Bangladesh beat India by 79 runs – ODI (Mirpur, June 18, 2015)
Tamim Iqbal (60), Soumya Sarkar (54) and Shakib Al Hasan (52) scored half-centuries as the home team posted 307. The target looked gettable until one man – Mustafizur Rahman – arrived at the scene. His cutters helped him end with figures of 5/50, as India were bowled out for a mere 228.
5. India drew with Bangladesh – Test (Fatullah, June 10-14, 2015)
Centuries from openers Murali Vijay (150) and Shikhar Dhawan (173) helped India post a big total of 462. Then Ravichandran Ashwin (5/87) and Harbhajan Singh (3/64) complemented the Indian batsmen’s efforts to dismiss Bangladesh for 256 and affect a follow-on. The match was, however, rain-interrupted as India could not take advantage of the situation.