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Nidahas Trophy 2018: Mahela Jayawardene picks the favourites for the final

Jayawardene also picked the most valuable player of the final.

Mahela Jayawardene
Mahela Jayawardene. (Photo by Getty Images)

The much-awaited Nidahas Trophy final between India and Bangladesh will be played later today (March 18) in Colombo. Historically, Bangladesh has never won against India in a T20I, but practically, that doesn’t assure India an automatic win in the final, especially since Bangladesh’s star player and World No. 1 T20 all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan returned for the virtual semi-final after nursing a finger injury. His return can be a worry for India, who is a strong team.

Shardul Thakur’s good form

Historically, India has never had a good supply of fast-bowlers but in the recent past, the rise of Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat and Mohammed Shami, among other U19 level pacers, has been of much help to Indian national and domestic cricket. While not all of these players are in the squad, with some having been rested, the likes of Thakur, who is India’s leading wicket-taker in the series, and Unadkat can do much damage to the opponent batsmen.

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The batting of both the teams is balanced

Former Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene has picked India as favourites of the final ahead of Bangladesh, “They have a clear advantage in terms of their pace bowling against Bangladesh, but in terms of batting things are more evenly balanced. Bangladesh have the experience in their top order to do some damage. At the end of the day, as is so often the case with T20 cricket, it will probably come down to who handles the pressure the best and is able to best navigate themselves through the key moments in the game,” he wrote in his column for The Times of India.

India’s batting has not been at its best because of the absence of its star players. However, one important point that the former Sri Lankan cricketer seems to have missed is the mention of Washington Sundar, who can spin a web around the opponent batsmen and be the most valuable player in the final.

India and Bangladesh, over the past two years, have developed a fierce rivalry, which makes the final even more anticipated.

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