India reached the Asia Cup 2018 final without any fuss. Apart from a couple of close games against Hong Kong and Afghanistan, where they didn't play their full strengthed side, India has been successful in crushing their strong opposition like Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Rohit Sharma led side gave no chance to Pakistan, their arch-rivals, in both the games they played against them. When everyone was expecting a high voltage game, Pakistan couldn't live up to the expectations, probably because they were in nowhere near this Indian side.
After storming into the final with ease, India will be looking to finish their Asia Cup outing on a high note. They will be up against Bangladesh in the tournament decider. The Bangla tigers have stepped into the final after defeating Pakistan in almost a one-sided affair.
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly talked about India's superiority in this tournament. However, he feels that Bangladesh is good to give India a hard time in the middle.
“India has looked unbeatable in this competition. After a shaky start against Hong Kong, they have just got stronger and stronger and will not be easy to beat in the final. Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan have batted exceptionally well and the break they got from not playing in the game against Afghanistan would have done them a world of good in these testing conditions,” he wrote in his column for The Times of India on Friday.
He further added, “For Bangladesh to remain in the contest, it will be important to control these two batsmen first before they look at others. Their exceptional form upfront means that the Indian middle-order has not come under much pressure, other than in the game against Afghanistan.”
Ganguly believes Bangladesh can score a competitive target batting first. “For Bangladesh to even stay competitive, a good score of around 275 will be required or else India will run away with the game,” he said.
After losing their star opener Tamim Iqbal in the first game, Bangladesh will also miss all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan because of injury.
Ganguly termed the omission of Shakib as 'big blow' for Bangladesh. “The loss of Shakib Al Hasan is a major blow especially with his bowling which helped balance the side. I do feel, however, that his position at No. 3 is a bit too high for him. Bangladesh has depended on Mushfiqur Rahim to see them through in big games but it cannot be him all the time, especially with the load he takes on as the ‘keeper. The rest will have to stand up, too,” he observed.
Indian pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have been in fine form with the ball lately. Bumrah, especially, has looked more threatening to the opponents. “The Indian side will remain unchanged from the one which played against Pakistan and Bangladesh earlier, and the threat of Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will loom over the Bangladeshi batsmen. Both have been exceptional with the ball, especially Bumrah who has been a standout in all formats for India. It just goes to show that quality players adapt themselves to all formats of the game.”
Ganguly showed concern on the downfall of Sri Lanka and poor performance by Pakistan in the Asia Cup. Both used to be a good competitor in this tournament in past, but haven't been able to show decent fight this time. "As much as Bangladesh’s resurgence and Afghanistan’s emergence is good news for the game, the quality of cricket displayed by Pakistan and Sri Lanka – the giants of Asia – has left a massive dent in world cricket,” Ganguly wrote.
“It should be a matter of concern the way teams like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and the West Indies have stayed below par over such a long period of time and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel for them in the near future. It’s important that good heads come together to assess the issues plaguing them.”