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9 months ago

Bangladesh out to end Asia Cup on a high

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Bangladesh aim to end the Asia Cup mission on a high note when they take on India in their last match of the Super Four phase tomorrow (Friday) at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

The match which starts at 3.30PM will be aired live on Gazi TV and T Sports.

The Tigers had already been eliminated from the race of the final following their seven-wicket and 21-run defeat to Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the first two matches.

Still there were slim hopes of making it to the final of the tournament and it hinged entirely on other results going their way coupled with favorable net run-rates. But the complex equation was even shattered when India beat Sri Lanka by 41 runs.

The victory propelled India to the final, making Pakistan and Sri Lanka game an unofficial semifinal. And therefore, Bangladesh made an exit to the tournament.

However for India, the tomorrow's match is a mere formality and naturally they would take this match to test their bench strength by resting some of their crucial players.

And naturally for Bangladesh, the match is to restore some pride as they didn't want to return to the country with empty hands. With India planning to test their bench strength, it's the best chance for Bangladesh to win a game.

India so far played near perfect cricket in Asia Cup to make them hot favourite to win the trophy.

But in the last series between the two sides, Bangladesh emerged out as the winner, winning the three-match ODI series at home by 2-1. That was Bangladesh's consecutive second series victory over India at home indeed.

As disappointing as it is, apart from in 2007 World Cup in West Indies, Bangladesh could never beat India outside of the country. In Asia Cup too, Bangladesh's head to head record against India is dismal one as they won just one game and lost 13 in 14 matches between the two sides. Bangladesh's only victory in Asia Cup came in 2012 when they hosted the tournament.

Although they came close to beat India several times in Asia Cup, couldn't sign it off properly, either due to India's brilliance or due to their own shortcomings.

After Bangladesh's defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka, captain Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim returned to country. Mushfiqur though returned to country to be with this wife, expecting their second baby, Shakib came back for personal affairs.

Shakib though joined the side ahead of the India match, Mushfiqur, who is blessed with a baby girl, got an extension of leave to be with his wife and newborn daughter.

So Bangladesh will be without the service of their most inform player.

"No Mushfiqur bhai, of course it will be a challenge for us because he is an experienced player. We, the rest of us, or who will play in his place will try to recover it as much as possible," Bangladesh young batter Towhid Hridoy said, underlining the importance of Mushfiqur in the team.

He further said that the team will play to win as they want to end the tournament on a high.

"We always play to win, no matter whether we are in the tournament or not. It's disappointing that we are not in the race of the final but despite that, we would like to end the tournament on a high."

After tasting defeat to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh spent three days in the hotel room. The players spent their time working out at the gym and had recovery sessions at the hotel. Ahead of the India game, they however start practice session. In between head coach Chandika Hathurusingha had one on one session with the players as he tried to give everyone some message.

"He just sat with me and said that I should play without fear, that I usually do, and he said that I won't get runs in every game and won't perform in every matches but that cannot change character," Hriody disclosed.

Squad

Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (Captain), Liton Das, Towhid Hridoy, Mushfiqur Rahim, Afif Hossain, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taskin Ahmed, Hasan Mahmud, Mustafizur Rahman, Shoriful Islam, Nasum Ahmed, Mahedi Hasan, Naim Sheikh, Shamim Hossain Patwari, Tanzid Hasan Tamim, Tanzim Hasan Sakib, Anamul Haque Bijoy

India: Rohit Sharma (c), Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya (vc), Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumraj, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Prasidh Krishna, Sanju Samson (travelling reserve).

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