India face rejuvenated Bangladesh in Nidahas Trophy final

Colombo, March 17 (IANS) Fresh from a thrilling win in their last league game against hosts Sri Lanka, Bangladesh will have their tails up as they prepare to take on a confident India in the final of the Nidahas Trophy T20 tri-series at the R. Premadasa Stadium here on Sunday.

In what was a virtual semi-final against the Islanders on Friday, Bangladesh pulled off a brilliant two-wicket win from the jaws of defeat in the final over, which was marred by ugly scenes following the on-field umpires’ failure to call the second delivery of the over a no-ball for height.

Bangladesh’s intent shows that they are eager to win this tournament and have not come here to make up the numbers which India will be well aware of, considering their consistent rise in the shortest format of the game.

Going into Sunday’s final, India with a second-string team minus regular captain Virat Kohli and veteran Mahendra Singh Dhoni, will hope their skipper Rohit Sharma will lead from the front and replicate his form in their previous encounter against the same opposition on Wednesday.

Rohit struck a brilliant 61-ball 89, his 13th T20 half century and was well supported by veteran left-hander Suresh Raina (47) as India edged past the Bangladeshis by 17 runs to seal their spot in the final.

Rohit’s opening partner Shikhar Dhawan has also been amongst the runs during the tournament even as the men-in-blue would hope for some fireworks from the likes of Lokesh Rahul and the middle order comprising Dinesh Karthik and Manish Pandey.

Among the bowlers, teenaged off-spinner Washington Sundar has been the find of the tournament with his exploits in the powerplay overs, while leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal has supported him well.

If India are to restrict the Bangladeshis, the rookie pace department, comprising Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur and all-rounder Vijay Shankar will need to complement the spin duo.

On the other hand, bolstered by the return of regular skipper Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh will definitely go all out in the summit clash.

Their top order comprising Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Soumya Sarkar and Mahmudullah have been amongst the runs while Liton Das seems the only weak link at the top.

The Bangladeshis will also be wary of Washington Sundar, who ripped through the top order in the previous tie.

Bangladesh’s bowling department led by Mustafizur Rahman and Rubel Hossain have troubled the Indians more often than not and will aim to replicate that in the final. Left-spinner Shakib’s inclusion has only added more spice to the contest.

Squads:
India: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan (vice-captain), Lokesh Rahul, Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Vijay Shankar, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohammad Siraj and Rishabh Pant.

Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (Captain), Mahmudullah, Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Mushfiqur Rahim (wicket-keeper), Sabbir Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Abu Hider, Abu Jayed, Ariful Haque, Nazmul Islam, Nurul Hasan, Mehidy Hasan, Liton Das.

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