Asia Cup: Tigers will hope to stun Rohit’s men

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Both teams have been forced to alter the preferred starting line-up due to injuries

Over the last few years, with the amount of cricket they have been playing against each other across formats and the heated exchanges on the field, India-Bangladesh matches have emerged as the subcontinental rivalry to watch out for.

The Bangla Tigers will hope to spoil the organisers’ and broadcaster’s plans for an effective three-match contest between India and Pakistan by surprising the Men in Blue on the opening day of the Super Four fixtures of the Asia Cup on Friday.

Interestingly, both the sides will enter the game having been forced to alter its preferred starting line-up due to injuries.

While Bangladesh will be without opener Tamim Iqbal, who has returned home after fracturing his wrist, India will have to rejig its line-up after all-rounder Hardik Pandya suffered a lower-back spasm against Pakistan on Wednesday.

Friday’s matches
  • India vs Bangladesh
  • Pakistan vs Afghanistan

Plenty to ponder

Add to that the injuries to pacer Shardul Thakur and spinner Axar Patel, and India — having rested captain Virat Kohli for the tournament — seems to have plenty to ponder.

While Bangladesh has sought a replacement for Tamim, Deepak Chahar, Siddharth Kaul and Ravindra Jadeja are scheduled to join the India contingent hours before the start of the match.

Having dominated Pakistan after being stretched by qualifier Hong Kong, India will look up to the in-form opening pair of captain Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan to lay a strong foundation against a team they have always scored heavily.

Bangladesh, meanwhile, will go in with the additional challenge of playing back-to-back games after facing Afghanistan in the concluding group-stage match.

It didn’t come as a surprise that Bangladesh rested key players Mushfiqur Rahim and left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman against Afghanistan. Still, it might be a tough task for the Tigers to take the field afresh, especially after the 90-minute commute from Abu Dhabi back to Dubai.

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