The cricket-crazy fans of India and Pakistan were getting ready for a high-voltage final clash between the two nations which would define the fate of the trophy’s destination, but Bangladesh pulled off something miraculous.
They outplayed Pakistan in a thrilling encounter at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi to book their place in the finals.
After losing three early wickets, Bangladeshi batters showed great character to come back into the game. The same goes for the bowlers, who were able to take wickets whenever an intimidating partnership was building. Now, they have an uphill task as they will have to battle for supremacy rights against India, the most threatening side in the Asian cricketing circuit. However, given their stunning performances thus far in the tournament, only a fool would think the final is as good as over and India have lifted the coveted trophy. Here are three reasons why Bangladesh can win the 2018 edition of the Asia Cup.
#3 Very deep batting order
The Bangladeshi top-order has struggled in the tournament in the absence of veteran Tamim Iqbal. Liton Das, Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Mominul Haque and Soumya Sarkar have all failed to make a mark. However, their deficiencies have been perfectly covered up by Bangladesh’s strong middle and lower-middle order.
Mushfiqur Rahim is in the form of his life. The wicket-keeper has scored 297 runs so far in this tournament at an astonishing average of over 70. Mahmudullah has amassed over 150 runs while Mohammad Mithun has accumulated 135 runs. Skipper Mashrafe Mortaza, who has scored over 1700 ODI runs and can offer a few blows comes in at number nine for the Tigers, which speaks volumes about the incredible depth in their batting order. Even if India manage to get some early wickets, they must not repeat Pakistan’s mistakes and continue to pressurize.
#2 The ‘Fizz’ factor
Bangladesh’s most prized bowling asset, the fans’ favourite ‘cutter master’ Mustafizur Rahman’s dipping form was a worry for the team. However, he has overcome all injuries and obstacles and has made a grand comeback. With eight wickets in four games, he is not only Bangladesh’s leading wicket-taker in this tournament but also the second highest wicket-taker, with Rashid Khan sitting comfortably at the top.
He has bowled 32 overs so far and has conceded only 147 runs at an impressive economy rate of less than five runs per over. While ‘The Fizz’ is the war general of their pace attack, Mehidy Hasan has done a commendable job with his cunning spin bowling. While he has not picked up many wickets, he has kept things in check by conceding runs at a magnificent economy rate of just over three runs per over.
#1 Mashrafe Mortaza’s captaincy
With unparalleled dedication both in fielding and with the ball, Mashrafe Mortaza is the ideal cricketer one should take inspiration from. Besides the other two mentioned attributes, he has also impressed with his clever captaincy. From precise field placements to effective bowler roatations, Mortaza has ticked all check-boxes.
Against Pakistan, he started the innings with spinner Mehidy Hasan, who picked up the crucial wicket of Fakhar Zaman. When Imam-ul-Haq and Asif Ali were taking Pakistan towards victory and game was slipping away from Bangladesh’s hands, Mortaza recalled his spinners. While Mehidy Hasan claimed the wicket of Asif Ali, Mahmudullah took the match-defining wicket of Imam-ul-Haq. Mortaza’s captaincy might prove to be a major factor in the all important final against India.
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