Bangladesh and Pakistan will each look to clinch their maiden ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup title when the sides face off in the final at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today.
Both Bangladesh and Pakistan remained unbeaten throughout the tournament and have been clinical in all departments of the game.
Bangladesh reached the semifinals as group champions after defeating Hong Kong, Nepal and India in their Group-B encounters. The hosts then went on to beat Afghanistan comfortably by seven wickets in a semifinal fixture.
For Bangladesh, this is their maiden final appearance in the tournament and so, Najmul Hossain Shanto and his troops will look to cash in on the opportunity on their home turf.
Skipper Najmul has been leading the side from the front and is also the top run-getter of the tournament so far with 234 runs, featuring three fifties, from four matches. Bangladesh opener Soumya Sarkar has also been in good touch as the left-hander is third on the run-getters list with 229 runs while pacer Sumon Khan leads the most wicket-takers chart with eleven scalps.
According to Najmul though, the home side will take on any undue pressure to win the final and will treat it just like any other game but he added that should they manage to clinch the title, it would be a huge boost for the senior team as well.
“It’s a very big opportunity for us and if we can get a good result it will be a huge boost for our senior team as well. Pakistan is a good side but I think we are keener to think about our game than thinking about our opponent,” Najmul told reporters yesterday.
Pakistan also had a smooth run to the final, winning all their group matches against Afghanistan, Oman and Sri Lanka before going on to beat arch-rivals India in a trilling three-run win in the semifinals.
This will be the third final appearance for Pakistan in the ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup. They were unable to clinch the title back in the 2013 and 2017 editions therefore, Rohail Nazir’s side will be desperate to lift the trophy this time around.
Pakistan opener Haider Ali is the highest run-getter for his side with 192 runs, including a hundred, while pacer Moahmmad Hasnain is the second highest wicket-taker with ten scalps. The fast bowler has already impressed with his sheer pace throughout the tournament.
“Obviously, Bangladesh are a very tough team to beat on their home soil. We look forward to playing some good cricket in the final as we have done our homework,” Pakistan skipper Rohail told reporters.