India and Bangladesh will fight it out for the bragging rights in the subcontinent when they meet in the final of the Asia Cup Twenty20 tournament at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Mirpur on Sunday. (Asia Cup 2016 Final: MS Dhoni Ready for Bangladesh Challenge)
Here are some the key battles on which the fate of the match could be decided:
1. Rohit Sharma vs Al-Amin Hossain
Rohit Sharma has been in wonderful form and going purely by performances in the last year, there are few batsmen that can match his numbers. The Indian star had a brilliant series in Australia and backed that up with some stupendous displays in the ongoing Asia Cup T20. But what will put Bangladesh in more fear, is his performance against them in the opening match of the tournament.
Rohit smashed 83 off just 55 balls to help India post 166 for six in tough batting conditions. Thanks to his knock, India helped themselves to an easy 45-run wicket.
Rohit, though, will be up against Al-Amin Hossain – Bangladesh’s most impressive bowler in the tournament. The right-arm pacer took three wickets against the Indians in the first match and carried on his good form in the ensuing matches. In four matches in the tournament, Al-Amin has scalped 10 wickets. However, with the pitches going through the wear and tear of hosting matches everyday, it will difficult for him get the same purchase as he did in previous matches.
2. Virat Kohli vs Mashrafe Mortaza
The one man, who probably dislodges Rohit Sharma from his pedestal is a certain Virat Kohli. The Indian Test captain is also in great form and has been India’s most consistent performer. Just going by this tournament, the stylish right-hander has been the saviour-in-chief for the Indians. Besides his sole failure in the first match, Kohli has just been impeccable and has notched scores of 49 and 56 not out in the last two innings he has batted.
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza might not have done too anything of note with the bat but has been productive with the ball. The all-rounder has taken a wicket in all four matches (5 wickets in total) his side have played in the tournament. Against India, he was expensive but put in a great performance against UAE and backed that up by impressing in crucial matches versus Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
3. Yuvraj Singh vs Shakib Al Hasan
Fingers might have been pointed at Yuvraj Singh for being a shadow of the destructive force he has been in the past. He didn’t do much against Bangladesh in the opening match and struggled against Pakistan’s fiery pace attack. But his struggle against a world class bowling attack bore fruit as he came out as a changed batsman in the following two matches. He smashed an 18-ball 35 against Sri Lanka and backed that up with another whirlwind unbeaten 25 off 14 balls to prove his detractors wrong.
Shakib Al Hasan will prove to be able challenger for Yuvraj. However, the fact that the Indian left-hander fancies left-armers will prove to be a roadblock. Shakib has managed just 56 runs with the bat in four matches but more importantly has picked five wickets without giving away too many runs.
4. Jasprit Bumrah vs Sabbir Rahman
Jasprit Bumrah has taken to Twenty20 cricket like a fish taking to water. His hit-the-deck seam bowling with the new ball and pinpoint yorkers in the death overs has given India a new dimension. After impressing against Australia, Bumrah again showed his skills in the tournament with some brilliant bowling. The pacer has picked five wickets in four matches in what has been a miserly spell of bowling.
Sabbir Rahman will have his hands full contending with Bumrah. But the right-hander has shown his skills and performed well in the series. After scoring an impressive 44 against India, Sabbir backed that with a match-winning 80 against Sri Lanka. The right-hander has scored 144 runs in four matches and once again will be the key for the hosts in the final.
5. Ravichandran Ashwin vs Mahmudullah
Arguably the best spinner in the world, Ravichandran Ashwin has not had the impact he exerts usually but the spin maestro cannot be ignored. Ashwin has taken three wickets in as many matches and was rested against the UAE. However, Dhoni has opted to bowl him the latter part of the opposition innings and Ashwin has pretty much come out unscathed, even though, he would have wanted more in the wickets column.
Mahmudullah has been the most impressive performer for Bangladesh and has played a massive role in his team reaching the final ahead of Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Not only has he chipped in with the ball (4 wickets) but he has done brilliantly with the bat. His only failure in the tournament came against India in the opening match and post that he is yet to be even dismissed. The middle-order batsman has scored in total of 88 runs and has delivered at times when Bangladesh have wanted to cross the finish line.