Former India captain Sourav Ganguly has said beating India in Friday's Asia Cup final will not be an easy task as he feels Rohit Sharma's men have gone on to become stronger after a wobbly start against Hong Kong.
Ganguly pointed out that the Indian team management's decision to rest their key players for the dead-rubber against Afghanistan on Tuesday should work wonders, considering the extremely hot conditions in Dubai.
However, Ganguly insisted that Bangladesh can put pressure on India if they manage to remove their openers Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan — two of the five players who did not play the team's final Super Four match.
While the left-hander, who seems to have put behind the disappointment of a poor English tour, has scored 327 runs in four matches at 81.75, the skipper has amassed 297 runs from as many matches at 74.25.
Both of them peaked in the crunch Super Four tie against Pakistan earlier this week as they hit centuries and stitched a record-breaking stand, helping India thrash their arch-rivals by nine wickets.
"India have looked unbeatable in this competition. After a shaky start against Hong Kong, they have just got stronger and stronger and will not be easy to beat in the final," Ganguly wrote in his column for The Times of India.
"Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan have batted exceptionally well and the break they got from not playing in the game against Afghanistan would have done them a world of good in these testing conditions.
"For Bangladesh to remain in the contest, it will be important to control these two batsmen first before they look at others. Their exceptional form upfront means that the Indian middle-order has not come under much pressure, other than in the game against Afghanistan."
As Ganguly points out, India's middle order has been an area of concern for quite some time now. WIth Mustafizur Rahman hitting peak form at the right time for Bangladesh, all hopes will be on the left-arm pacer to trouble the Indian openers in the big final.
While Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik have performed well at No. 3 and No. 4 in the ongoing tournament, the weakness was exposed in India's tie with Afghanistan on Tuesday as the middle order struggled against the quality spin bowling of Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi.
India were in the driver's seat at 142 for 2 in chase of 253 but the likes of MS Dhoni, Manish Pandey, and Kedar Jadhav failed to get going, thereby putting quite a lot of pressure on the inexperienced lower-middle order.
Bangladesh will be hoping to get into that fragile Indian middle order soon but the absence of Shakib Al Hasan, their premier spinner, may make the job easier for the Men in Blue.
Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar threat looms over Bangladesh: Ganguly
Meanwhile, Ganguly has insisted that Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be the ones to watch out for in the Indian bowling unit in the big final.
The two pacers, who were rested for the Afghanistan tie, had run through the Bangladeshi top-order, picking up six wickets between them in their Super Four encounter on September 21. It remains to be seen how Mashrafe Mortaza's men can cope up without two of their experienced batsmen in Tamim Iqbal and Shakib.
"The Indian side will remain unchanged from that which played Pakistan and Bangladesh earlier, and the threat of Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will loom over the Bangladeshi batsmen," Ganguly added.