Colombo, March 17: A bitter, yet intense rivalry is expected to produce a cracker of a contest when India take on Bangladesh in the final of the Nidahas Trophy 2018 T20I tri-series, here on Sunday (March 17).
While the second-string Indian team recorded a hat-trick of comfortable wins after their opening loss to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh reached the summit clash with couple of dramatic wins over the hosts.
In a tense encounter, in which Bangladesh beat Sri Lanka on Friday (March 16), Mahmudullah rose to the occasion with a penultimate ball six, will give the 'Tigers' immense confidence.
Points table of Nidahas Trophy 2018 after the group matches. Bangladesh will face India in the final on Sunday. pic.twitter.com/6sHJQMsUbP— Bangladesh Cricket (@BCBtigers) March 17, 2018
However, an angry Shakib Al Hasan's attempt to call the team off the ground and allegedly damaging of the dressing room by Bangladeshi players is a testimony that they still have some way to go as far as composure is concerned.
Unlike India's rivalry with Pakistan and Australia, there isn't any significant cricketing history attached to India-Bangladesh matches.
But since their 2015 World Cup quarterfinal defeat in Melbourne where they felt a few umpiring decisions went against them, the tiny nation of cricket fanatics consider India to be their biggest on-field rivals. The other big win coming in 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.
Not to forget a crass advertisement "Mauka Mauka", which was aired before and during the 2015 World Cup, something that Bangladeshi fans still consider as an insult.
During the same year, India lost an ODI series in Bangladesh and there were some objectionable photo-shopped billboards of Indian players' with heads half-shaved, put out across the streets of Dhaka.
Bangladeshi players' skills don't match their zeal always but there will be no inches given when the likes of Shakib, Mushfiqur Rahim or Mahmudullah step onto the field.
However, in terms of sheer talent, Indian team is a cut above their Bangladeshi counterparts.
Man to man, the opening pair of Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan have scored runs across the globe even though Tamim Iqbal and Litton Das are good on their day.
Dhawan has scored close to 200 runs in the tournament while skipper Rohit is back in form after an 89 off 61 balls against the same opposition in last group league match.
No one among the 22 players have more experience compared to Suresh Raina in the shortest format as Soumya Sarkar is no match for him.
Dinesh Karthik and Mushfiqur Rahim are on even keel as far batting is concerned although the Tamil Nadu glovesman has shown composure more often in pressure scenarios.
Manish Pandey may not be as experienced as Mahmudullah in international cricket but Pandey's 10 years of IPL cricket holds him in good stead.
In the bowling department, Shardul Thakur has been steady and Washington Sundar's Powerplay bowling has been India's biggest gain from this tour.
Vijay Shankar has also been impressive but unlucky at times because of the number of catches dropped off his bowling.
However the only worry for India will be second specialist seamer. Both Jaydev Unadkat and Mohammed Siraj have proved to be expensive. It will be interesting to see who among the two plays.
The match is scheduled to start at 7.00 P.M. IST.
Where to watch the match live?
The match can be watched live on DSport and on Rishtey Cineplex/HD.
Squads: India: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan,, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, Jaydev Unadkat, Yuzvendra Chahal, Vijay Shankar, Shardul Thakur, Rishabh Pant, Washington Sundar, Lokesh Rahul, Axar Patel, Deepak Hooda and Mohammed Siraj.
Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (Captain), Mushfiqur Rahim, Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudullah, Rubel Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Soumya Sarkar, Nazmul Islam, Liton Das, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Mehidy Hasan, Imrul Kayes, Ariful Haque, Nurul Hasan, Abu Hider Rony and Abu Jayed.