Bangladesh extinguished Pakistani hopes with a triumphant win taking them into the Asia Cup final where they will face big favourites, India.
Though this Bangladeshi team is a far superior to its predecessors, beating India has traditionally proved to be an exceptionally hard task for them. Of the 35 ODIs played between the teams since, Bangladesh has won only five.
Three of these wins, however, have come since 2012 (11 matches have been played between the two sides in that time period), a promising change after a string of dreary losses for the team in its initial years.
But perhaps more importantly for India, only one of those wins has come outside Bangladesh, when they beat India during the 2007 World Cup group match. On three occasions, they chased down the score thanks to strong showings from their middle-order.
Team captain, Mashrafe Mortaza has been in and out of the team through this metamorphosis. He’s the only player to have been part of each of Bangladesh’s wins against India.
Bangladesh’s rise in ODI cricket has been gradual. They are now competitive but is that enough to see them through to a win?
The last ten years perhaps been the most crucial for the team’s growth. In part, an active cricket calendar has accelerated this process. They’re not playing as many matches as the other countries in the sub-continent, but enough to make them competitive.
The batting unit has flourished over time. It started with boy wonder, Mohammad Ashraful who never really capitalised on his early stardom. But four players have emerged over the last decade that have come to define the batting line-up.
Among them, Tamim Iqbal and all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, both of whom have played some of Bangladesh’s most explosive cricket. Both average almost 50 when they win, so a good showing from both could potentially get them into a winning position in the final.
Highest run scorers for Bangladesh
|Shakib Al Hasan||2006-2018||34.91||5482|
The bowling has largely been anchored by Mortaza. Of the same Ashraful vintage, but he delivers the goods despite having erratic performances in the middle of his career. A genuine pacer who despite multiple injuries continues to lead from the front.
At this year’s Asia Cup, Mustafizur Rahman has taken eight wickets at an average of 18.37. Only Rashid Khan has performed better at the tournament.
Highest wicket takers for Bangladesh
|Shakib Al Hasan||2006-2018||29.62||244|
Perennial favourites India are in uncharted territory when they face Bangladesh in the final.
They’ve never faced each other in a final, and Bangladesh have never won any of the finals they’ve played in, so the odds are in India’s favour. But if Bangladesh win, their transformation, from subcontinental minnows to genuine world beaters, will be complete.