Asia Cup: India and Bangladesh Prepare for Summit Clash
India and Bangladesh players underwent a rigorous training session one last time ahead of the Asia Cup final on Sunday.
Bangladesh are hoping to cause a major upset in the Asia Cup final in Dhaka on Sunday by spoiling favourites India's preparations for the World Twenty20, which starts next week. (All AFP images)
Top-ranked India crushed Bangladesh by 45 runs in the opening match of the tournament, but the hosts have since executed a turnaround, winning three matches on-the-trot to qualify for the final.
Bangladesh's five-wicket win over Pakistan on Wednesday, watched by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina from a packed gallery, sparked jubilation in the cricket-mad nation.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni's side, the pre-tournament favourites, defeated the UAE by nine wickets on Thursday to end the league phase with a 100 percent success rate.
India -- who have won nine of their last 10 Twenty20 internationals -- will start the final as favourites, but Dhoni said nothing could be taken for granted, especially in the shortest format of international cricket.
India are five-time winners of the Asia Cup, which takes place every two years, although India's winning meets were all held in the previous 50-over one-day international format.
Dhoni, whose illustrious trophy case includes one Asia Cup from 2010, would like to end the 12-day meet on a high before India hosts the World Cup T20 Championship starting on March 8.
Hosts Bangladesh have qualified for the Asia Cup final only once in 2012, when they lost to Pakistan at home by just two runs.
Clashes broke out Saturday between police and hundreds of fans queuing for tickets, local Bangladesh media reported.
Police fired tear gas to disperse the fans, according to the online edition of Prothom Alo, a Bengali-language daily.
Virat Kohli, with two man of the match performances under his belt, will look to end the tournament on a high with another significant contribution.
Suresh Raina, who has been struggling to find form, will hope to spend some valuable time in the middle ahead of the upcoming mega tournament.
Yuvraj Singh has found his lost touch but he will have to prove his calibre in the tense final against the home team.
After giving the reserve bench an opportunity, India are expected to be bring back their usual playing XI. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan are expected to open the innings.
The hostile crowd can create pressure on youngsters like Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah, playing their first final for India. But both boys have had the experience of playing under pressure in the Indian Premier League which will come in handy.
For Mashrafe, Shakib Al Hasan, Sabbir Rahman, the taste of a title win is something alien. They came very near to it in 2012 when Pakistan crossed the final hurdle as Mahmudullah Riyadh choked in the final overs.
The same Mahmudullah is a 'man of big occasions' for Bangladesh as he has more than redeemed himself with that boundary off Anwar Ali to take his team to the final.
With nine wins out of 10, the Indian juggernaut has been rolling since the start of the T20 series against Australia, that begun in Adelaide. But the 11th match will be a tricky test more so because it is being played on Bangladeshi soil.