R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
March 18, Sunday; 19:00 IST
Live on DSport
The main picture
IF Bangladesh beat India and lift the Nidahas trophy tomorrow, it will arguably be their greatest achievement as a cricketing nation to date. This series may be low-profile but should the Bangla Tigers win, the satisfaction they draw will be unprecedented—better than when they beat New Zealand, India, South Africa, and Sri Lanka in bilateral ODI series at home in the last decade—and this could propel Bangladesh cricket to new heights once again.
Standing in their way, however, are the mighty (!) India, who, even with a second-string squad, are better than Sri Lanka in every department. What also separates this Indian team from those in the years gone by is the ability to raise their game for these tournament finals and not look out of place. So, Bangladesh are essentially facing a team who are not only strewn with quality personnel but also have the experience of having repeatedly been in tournament/series finals and come out on top more often than not in recent times.
Tough to say if India have raised their game after losing the opening match of the Nidahas Trophy to Sri Lanka. But their key players in the batting department are alive and kicking and in Washington Sundar, they have an underrated off-spinner who has been impeccable with the ball so far. Rohit Sharma and co. are a confident bunch heading into tomorrow’s final.
Bangladesh are also a team high on confidence after winning the virtual semi-final against Sri Lanka in such a dramatic fashion. However, the question to be asked is, how capable are they of beating India, having lost to them twice in the league stage?
They will start afresh tomorrow and if they are focussed on what is in front of them, Bangladesh have the players capable of making the difference and beating India. Mushfiqur Rahim has been in great form in T20Is this year, while the likes of Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah head into the final on the back of a couple of good scores. Shakib Al Hasan, with his repertoire, is always a key player for his team. The Bangladeshi bowlers, however, need to be on the money whether they bowl first or second. If Bangladesh are to win tomorrow, their bowling attack has to deliver the goods.
Pitch conditions and weather forecast
The R Premadasa Stadium pitch has slowed down a touch in the last couple of matches and shot-making has been seemingly difficult. It, however, remains a good pitch to bat on and on which the bowlers need to be astute to stifle the batsmen. (Five of the six matches so far this tournament have been won by the team batting second.)
The weather forecast is for a thunderstorm in the evening, which, otherwise, is predicted to be cloudy and the temperature a seemingly pleasant 25 degree Celsius.
BAN: WLWLL (from left to right, last five completed T20Is)
Nidahas Trophy final, India vs Bangladesh playing XI
Bangladesh are unlikely to alter their playing XI from the match against Sri Lanka on Friday.
Probable Bangladesh playing XI vs India: 1 Shakib Al Hasan (c), 2 Tamim Iqbal, 3 Litton Das, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Sabbir Rahman, 6 Soumya Sarkar, 7 Mahmudullah, 8 Mehidy Hasan, 9 Rubel Hossain, 10 Nazmul Islam, 11 Mustafizur Rahman
India will probably recall Jaydev Unadkat, who made way for Mohammad Siraj in India’s last league match.
Probable India playing 11 vs Sri Lanka: 1 Rohit Sharma (C), 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 Manish Pandey, 5 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 6 Vijay Shankar, 7 Lokesh Rahul, 8 Shardul Thakur, 9 Jaydev Unadkat, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Washington Sundar
India, given their big-game nous and quality in the batting and bowling departments, will start as the favourite to win the final and lift the Nidahas Trophy. But Bangladesh, too, have the personnel capable of making the difference and winning the match. We are in for another potentially close encounter!