SL-Bangladesh match to determine India fate
The Indians recorded their highest run-chase ever to pull off an extra-ordinary victory over arch rivals Pakistan on Sunday, riding on Virat Kohli blistering 183 off 148 balls to keep themselves in the hunt for a place in the final.
But Sunday`s win alone is not enough for the defending champions to seal their place for Thursday`s summit clash as India`s fate now entirely depends on how Sri Lanka perform.
India, whose Asia Cup campaign was thrown into disarray after their upset five-wicket loss to minnows Bangladesh, will now have to wait for the result of tomorrow`s Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. If Sri Lanka win, India will go into the final but a defeat for the islanders will ensure that Bangladesh take on Pakistan in the title clash on Thursday.
As per the rules of the tournament, if two teams are tied on points, head-to-head record will be considered, so Bangladesh will go into the final as they had beaten India in their league match.
Going by the form of both the teams, Bangladesh would back themselves to register another upset win in the tournament. After giving Pakistan a scare in the tournament-opener, Bangladesh sprung a surprise by chasing down India`s challenging 289-run target with five wickets in hand and four balls to spare.
Nicknamed `Tigers`, the Bangladesh cricket team has so far showed in the continental event that they are quite a handful in front of adoring home fans. Tamim Iqbal, Jahurul Islam, Nasir Hossain, Shakib Al Hasan and captain Mushfiqur Rahim all batted brilliantly against India the other day to set up the brilliant run chase.
In particular, Tamim has been solid upfront while Shakib and Mushfiqur have been providing the impetus towards the end. If batting is turning out to be their strength in this tournament, Bangladesh`s bowling has been unimpressive.
To add to their woes, Shafiul Islam is uncertain for tomorrow`s match after hurting his shoulder against India and in such a scenario the pressure would be high on experienced Mashrafe Mortaza to deliver the goods up front.
What has hurt Bangladesh most is the below-par performance of its spin quartet of Shakib, Abdur Razzak, Mahmudullah and Nasir Hossain. But all said and done, it won`t be easy for Bangladesh tomorrow as in Sri Lanka, they will be up against a wounded team which is already out of the tournament after two consecutive defeats against Pakistan and India and would be desperately seeking a win before heading home.
Sri Lanka have looked a jaded side in this event following their long tri-series campaign in Australia. The absence of their two attacking all-rounders – Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera – both of whom are out injured, has hurt Sri Lanka badly in this event.
Sri Lanka also have major issues to deal with in both their batting as well as bowling department. While skipper Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara have been among runs, explosive opener Tillakaratne Dilshan`s lean patch is hurting the team most.
Barring Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekera, the islanders` bowling attack looks ordinary and they also lack a quality spinner at their disposal on the placid Sher-e-Bangla pitch.