Bangladesh are hoping to cause a major upset in the Asia Cup final in Dhaka on Sunday by spoiling favourites India’s preparations for the World Twenty20, which starts next week.
Top-ranked India crushed Bangladesh by 45 runs in the opening match of the tournament, but the hosts have since executed a turnaround, winning three matches on the trot to qualify for the final.
Bangladesh’s five-wicket win over Pakistan on Wednesday, watched by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina from a packed gallery, sparked jubilation in the cricket-mad nation.
“Any good team, if they are the home team, they will always know the conditions very well. So to beat a home team is always difficult,” Indian captain MS Dhoni told reporters.
“Also Bangladesh, over the years has developed a lot. They have improved their strength,” said the skipper, predicting: “It will be a good final.”
Dhoni’s side, the pre-tournament favourites, defeated the UAE by nine wickets on Thursday to end the league phase with a 100 percent success rate.
India — who have won nine of their last 10 Twenty20 internationals — will start the final as favourites, but Dhoni said nothing could be taken for granted, especially in the shortest format of international cricket.
His side are five-times winners of the Asia Cup, which takes place every two years, although India’s winning meets were all held in the previous 50-over one-day international format