Defending champions India are the favorites to carry the Asia Cup trophy for the record seventh time when they face a confident Bangladesh in the final at the Dubai International Cricket sports stadium in Dubai. For India, the last-ball draw against Afghanistan in their final Super Four encounter on Tuesday will serve as an eye opener despite all the highest guns, including skipper Rohit Sharma and his in-form opening partner Shikhar Dhawan were rested for the inconsequential tie. Chasing a competitive 253, India under Mahendra Singh Dhoni got off to a flier from the new opening pair of Lokesh Rahul (60) and Ambati Rayudu (57) before a mini-collapse, including some run-outs and umpiring errors, eventually resulted in a tie. With both Rohit and Shikhar set to come back to the playing XI, and Rahul and Rayudu in equally high form, it’ll be fascinating to see if the Indian team management decides to play Rahul in the middle order. In such a state of affairs, the axe can be either on Dinesh Karthik or Kedar Jadhav, but the latter’s part-time off-spinning ability provides him an upper hand.
Going into the final, India is going to be boosted by the return of the regulars, especially the new ball pair of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, who was dearly missed in the death overs. India will hold a psychological advantage over the Mashrafe Mortaza-led team after their seven-wicket win in their initial Super Four tie of the ongoing Asia Cup. Bangladesh, who defeated Pakistan in their do-or-die Super Four clash on Wednesday, will battle against all odds, including injuries to a few key players in their attempt to carry the trophy for the first time.