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Asia Cup 2016: 5 Bangla tigers who can spoil India's party in Asia Cup final

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 5:51 IST

Think India can stroll through to victory in the final of the Asia Cup against Bangladesh today? Think again.

For even though India has been the best team in the tournament, Bangladesh has been the surprise package. Beating UAE, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the run up to the final and only losing to India in the group stage, this current Bangladeshi team has come of age.

The tigers have a group of young and fearless players who are backed by an experienced captain, and are playing in their first major final in their cricketing history. Here we look at the 5 Bangladeshi players that the Indian team has to be wary of - because they might just spoil their party.

Mashrafe Mortaza
mashrafe-mortaza. AFP / MUNIR UZ ZAMAN

Photo: AFP PHOTO/Munir uz ZAMAN

Captain Mashrafe Mortaza was the best player in the Bangladesh side when the tiger recorded their first ever win against India in 2004, with bowling figures of 2-36 but more importantly, a crucial knock of 31 not out. But even though Mortaza might not possess the pace and swing that he once did, he more than makes up for it with his astute and thoughtful brand of captaincy.

His field placements, tactical nous and rotation of bowlers has been as key to Bangladesh's success in the tournament as the performance of other players. Indian batsmen will do well if they are not used as baits for strategically placed fielders.

Sabbir Rahman
sabbir-rahman . AFP PHOTO/Munir uz ZAMAN

Photo: AFP PHOTO/Munir uz ZAMAN

Having scored 144 runs in four matches in the tournament already, top order batsman Sabbir Rahman holds a vital position in the Bangladeshi team. Along with Saumya Sarkar, the team depends on him to deliver with his performances when it matters the most. And more often than not, he does.

His knock of 44 in 32 balls against India in the first match of the tournament was fearless, and India did well to get him out in time before he could go on to score more runs. A flat pitch and the support of a vociferous crowd behind him could be all that he needs to play the best innings of his career against India in the final.

Shakib Al Hassan
shakib-al-hasan . Photo: AFP PHOTO/Munir uz ZAMAN

Photo: AFP PHOTO/Munir uz ZAMAN

Up until the start of the Asia Cup, Shakib Al Hasan was considered one of the best all rounders in the world in the shortest format of the game. That alone is a reason to be wary of him, even though his performances in the tournament haven't been of the level to merit that kind of acclaim.

Shakib is the kind of player who lifts the performances of those around him when he is on song. Lethal with the bat and clinical with the ball, he is the spare cog that every T20 team must have if they are to wriggle out of tight situations with the help of someone who can do a job with both the bat and ball. And as far as his poor form goes, you know what they say about tigers - they're most dangerous when wounded.

Soumya Sarkar
saumya-sarkar . AFP / MUNIR UZ ZAMAN

Photo: AFP PHOTO/Munir uz ZAMAN

Watching Soumya Sarkar bat is like a throwback to the great left handed batsmen of the past. Along with Mustafizur Rahman (who was unfortunately injured before this tournament), he is undoubtedly the brightest young talent in the Bangladeshi team at the moment.

Sarkar possesses an impressive One Day International record of 692 in a mere 16 matches. Even though he has not hit the same dizzying heights in the T20 format of the game as evidenced by his performances in the Asia Cup, his ability to briskly score runs without taking much of a risk is an asset in the shortest format of the game.

And not to forget, he scored 48 runs against the most lethal pace bowling attack in the tournament in what was a successful run chase for Bangladesh against Pakistan. One never knows what he could do against India.

Taskin Ahmed
taskin-ahmed . Photo: File

Photo: File Photo

The words of his captain Mashrafe Mortaza are a ringing endorsement in itself about the value that Taskin Ahmed has been adding to the Bangladeshi cricket team in this tournament. "Taskin did what Mustafizur generally has been doing for us, which is to set up the game."

That he has replaced Bangladesh's brightest young star, Mustafizur Rahman, in a way that no one has missed his presence speaks volumes. Taskin's pace and bounce might be a tough task for the Indian batsmen to handle, and they will need to cautiously navigate his threat in the opening few overs.

Because if the Indian batsmen lose a few early wickets courtesy this bright young talent, one never knows which direction the match might turn.

First published: 6 March 2016, 12:51 IST