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Preview: Bangladesh eye another upset in final

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Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2012, 15:03 [IST]
 
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Bangladesh eye another upset in final

Dhaka, Mar 21: Bangladesh are gearing up to upset another powerhouse as they face off with Pakistan in the Asia Cup final at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Thursday.

The hosts have been the unexpected entrant into the summit clash after stunning World Cup 2011 finalists India and Sri Lanka.

Tuesday night was a historic one for Bangladesh as they beat Sri Lanka by five wickets to seal the final spot.

They have played exceptionally well with a huge support from their fans. They are in a confident mood and Pakistan will be wary of them in the final on Thursday afternoon.

Bangladesh ran Pakistan close in the opener before going down by 21 runs. They will be attempting to take revenge for that and win their first ever trophy on the international stage.

Pakistan had won the Asia Cup title only once. That came in this country when Bangladesh hosted the tournament in 2000.

"It's a great achievement for the country, so far the biggest. We realise it's still not over, we have another very important game. We'll enjoy, we'll party, but tomorrow we'll be back to business. I hope we will fire on the 22nd," said opener Tamim Iqbal, who celebrated his 23rd birthday with a half century on Tuesday.

It was also Iqbal's third successive half century in the tournament. He, along with Shakib Al Hasan and Nasir Hossain have piloted Bangladesh's chases.

The hosts will again be wanting to chase the target. The 22-yard strip is likely to suit batsmen yet again.

"I think when we talk in the dressing room its like, 100 runs in 20 overs is no problem. This is the sort of confidence that we have now," said Shakib.

"Cricket is a mental game so this confidence is very important. If a player goes down the wicket and thinks he'll get stumped, he will. If he thinks he will hit a six, he'll be successful at most times," he said.

Shakib is a key man for Bangladesh, not only with his batting but also with bowling.

Pakistan's opener Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed are in form. They need to provide the team with another good start.

Offspinner Saeed Ajmal could make a big impact on the final. It will all depend on how Bangladesh batsmen tackle him. Ajmal starred with the ball in the previous contest between the sides on March 13.

Some of the best batsmen in world cricket have failed to read Ajmal's deliveries, doosra in particular. Pakistan will rely on him to as many wickets as possible in his 10 overs.

Irrespective of what happens on Thursday. Bangladesh can hold their heads high after performing so well. Their fans though will not be satisfied anything less than a trophy.

Squads

Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Abdur Rehman, Aizaz Cheema, Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Hammad Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Saeed Ajmal, Sarfraz Ahmed (wicketkeeper), Shahid Afridi, Umar Akmal, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, Younis Khan.

Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (captain, wicketkeeper), 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.

Umpires: Steve Davis (Australia) and Ian Gould (England)

Third Umpire: To be confirmed

Match Referee: David Boon (Australia)

Match starts at 1.30 PM IST

For ball by ball commentary, live updates and reports, visit www.thatscricket.com

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