Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bangladesh play Pakistan in Asia Cup Final - 22 March

The ongoing Asia Cup cricket tournament in Bangladesh has been amazing. It started off with India as the hot favourite, followed by either Pakistan or Sri Lanka reaching the final to take on the defending champions. No one talked of the hosts Bangladesh.

But to everyone's surprise, the Bengal Tigers stunned and surprised everyone. All speculations were turned wrong by the superb cricket shown by the hosts - from the underdogs, the became the roaring tigers to face Pakistan in the final of the Asia Cup 2012 being played on 22 March Thursday.

And what is more surprising that the hosts won over majestically not over the defending champion India, but also the Sri Lanka who has been the cup holder in the past. Their margin of 5-wickets victory over Sri Lanka was tremendous.  For the hosts the march into the final is history making, for which the entire country is jubilant, fully charged to support their team when they enter the Shere Bangla stadium to meet Pakistan. It may be added here that Pakistan, in its first opening match with the hosts, could barely win over by a narrow margin of 21 runs. This shows the form and excellent training with which the hosts have entered into the tournament.

The ouster of the defending champion and four times winner Sri Lanka must be shocking for both the countries. Sri Lanka this time could not win even a single match, while India paid the price of losing to the hosts.

Although, the Green Shirts are favourite for the final, they have had their problems in playing the limited over matches with England recently. Having won over the test series 3-0, the lost all ODIs and the T20Is to England. Even in the on going Asia Cup, their bowlers have not shown the shine as many were contemplating to witness. In Pakistan's match with India, the usual spirit was evidently seen lacking, which led to the defeat of the Green Shirts at the hands of the defending champions.

Now it is the final on Thursday - a big day indeed for both the teams, but specially for the hosts as they play for the final for the first time since the tournament started. 

The likely opposing teams for the final on 22 March are as under:
Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Abdur Rehman, Aizaz Cheema, Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Hammad Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Saeed Ajmal, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Shahid Afridi, Umar Akmal, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, Younis Khan.

Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (captain; wk), Abdur Razzak, Anamul Haque, Elias Sunny, Imrul Kayes, Jahurul Islam, Mahmudullah, Mashrafe Mortaza, Nasir Hossain, Nazimuddin, Nazmul Hossain, Shafiul Islam, Shahadat Hossain, Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal. 

And one last question that must be bothering everyone: Who will win the final? Well Pakistan has only once won the title in 2000 which was incidently played in Bangladesh. Pakistan's batsmen look confident - but their bowlers haven't shown the spirit and have allowed runs to slip by them in great numbers, specially in their match against India. But despite all odds, they still are the favourites. Bangladesh on the other hand is in high spirits after winning over the Lankans and have the great support of their home crowd which will be much more charged and supportive of their team..

We wait till the match begins Thursday 22 March 2012 at Shere Bangla stadium. The match commences 08:00 GMT.