Six-time champions India will be aiming to reassert their continental supremacy while an injury-hit Bangladesh will hope to shrug off stage fright when the two sides square off in the grand finale of the 2018 Asia Cup.
The Bangla Tigers, who have a penchant for being 'party poopers', stunned Pakistan in their penultimate fixture to erase the prospect of an another India Pakistan clash. And now they will be hoping to spring another surprise when they face India on Friday.
On paper, India will remain the overwhelming favourites to win the tournament for a record seventh time given their invincible form so far, while Bangladesh will be hoping to be third-time lucky in a summit clash.
However, the final is a one-off game in complete isolation from how a team has performed in the tournament. It is a known fact that even the most consistent teams have faltered on the final hurdle when it has mattered the most.
And with the amount of cricket these two nations have been playing over the years across different formats, which has included some heated on-field exchanges, this India-Bangladesh clash promises to be a mouth-watering affair.
But what is definitely a dampener for Bangladesh heading into the final is the injury woes that the side is facing. Star batsman Tamim Iqbal is already out with a fractured hand and Bangladesh will also not have premier all-rounder Shakib-Al-Hasan in the line-up owing to a finger injury.#
For India, it will be a different test though. Even without the services of talismanic captain Virat Kohli, the Indian cricket team have looked the strongest team so far. And a victory in the Asia Cup without their skipper and best batsman will be a big statement going into next year's World Cup.
After resting five regulars during a wake-up call from Afghanistan in their tied Super Four encounter, the order is expected to be restored in the summit clash. The Indian batting lineup starring Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan have looked formidable and lived up to the billing by scoring freely on surfaces that are not ideal for stroke-play.
The same cant be said for the Indian middle order, who were only tested in the match against Afghanistan where they came a cropper despite a century opening stand by the makeshift pair of KL Rahul and Ambati Rayudu.
The Bangladesh bowling attack is one of the most potent in 50 over cricket with Mustafizur Rahaman, Rubel Hossain, and Mashrafe Mortaza ready to test batting line-ups. Mustafizur has a lot of tricks up his sleeve while Mashrafe's experience comes in handy.
However, not having Shakib in the line-up could prove to be a major setback for the side. In the batting department, the Bangla Tigers will bank heavily on the ever-dependable Mushfiqur Rahim, who has been the 'crisis man' along with the very stylish Mahmudullah Riyadh.
(With PTI inputs)