As expected, India have been the dominant team in this year’s Asia Cup as the gap continues to widen between themselves and the second best side in the tournament. A knockout blow from Bangladesh saw Afghanistan’s aspirations of making it to this year’s Asia Cup final fade away within an instance, now it’s just a matter of playing for pride as they face a side that look almost unbeatable.
Afghanistan will be disappointed in their efforts after a strong showing in the group stages, they’re now on the verge of losing three-consecutive matches to end their campaign on a rather-shallow note. It’s almost as if they overachieved early in the tournament, two promising wins against two very-capable outfits in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka certainly put them under the pump to keep up that momentum. One man’s performance in this year’s Asia Cup that can’t be faulted is middle order batsman Hashmatullah Shahidi. Making a steady-start to his campaign against Sri Lanka, the 23-year-old than elevated his output significantly as he helped advance his side to the super four stage with a gritty half-century against Bangladesh. His next two stints at the crease were even more impressive, falling just short of a maiden ODI century with an unbeaten-97 against Pakistan, backing it up with 71 off 99 deliveries against Bangladesh. Amazingly, Hashmatullah’s efforts were to no avail as Afghanistan slumped to consecutive losses resulting in elimination. Afghanistan put up an almighty fight to stay in this year’s Asia Cup, and they wouldn’t have lost an ounce of respect from their supporters as they continue to improve each & every passing year. Arguably the best young spinning-duo in world cricket, Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman have been superb with the ball in hand yet again. The pair has combined to claim a collective total of 15 wickets between them in the tournament proving to be extremely serviceable. Both Rashid and Mujeeb will be tested against an Indian batting line-up accustomed to spin bowling, if they’re good enough they might get an early breakthrough. Veteran all-rounder Mohammad Nabi has had an underwhelming Asia Cup so far, his past two outings with the ball have disappointing and his batting hasn’t reached any great heights either. It’s games like these that has the potential to unravel a dominant side such as India, complacency can be your worst enemy…
A 2-0 score line against their fierce rivals Pakistan in this year’s Asia Cup is just another minor victory in what has been a sensational run so far for the Indian cricket team. Apart from Hong Kong, no other team has really worried India which has to be a huge positive heading into the final knowing that you’ve been the most dominant team of the competition by a country mile. It’s been their opening batsmen who’ve feasted on the runs in the U.A.E. this year, which says a lot about how confident this team is in their own ability at the moment. Both Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan are the top two leading run scorers in the 2018 Asia Cup, Dhawan probably being the more impressive of the two with centuries against Hong Kong and Pakistan. With Rohit averaging a whopping 134.50 and Dhawan 81.75, the rest of India’s batting order hasn’t really been tested which could work in favour of the opposition if exploited correctly. After losing all-rounder Hardik Pandya early in the tournament, his replacement Ravindra Jadeja stole the show in his return to the side with a match winning four-wicket haul against the Tigers. The colourful all-rounder also adds depth to the batting line-up if required, but the way India have been batting he’ll be lucky to even unzip his kit bag. The two spinners were the main feature in India’s last match against Pakistan claiming two wickets each, but it’s been the seam bowlers who’ve been the most productive with the ball for them in this year’s Asia Cup. Rested in the first ODI, star-quick Jasprit Bumrah has picked up figures of 2/23, 3/37 and 2/29 in his three outings. Bumrah has teamed up well with Bhuvneshwar Kumar who’s also picked up 6 wickets in his four matches, although he did go wicketless on two separate occasions. India just has way too much class & depth to go away empty handed in this year’s tournament, I expect them to be holding the Asia Cup in a matter of days.
Having sealed a spot in the 2018 Asia Cup final, India could potentially look at playing some of their bench players such as KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Khaleel Ahmed and Siddarth Kaul in this last super four match against Afghanistan. On the other hand, they might not want to upset a winning formula which is completely understandable.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Afghanistan | Asia Cup super four | 5th match | Dubai
- Hashmatullah Shahidi
- Rahmat Shah
- Rashid Khan
- Gulbadin Naib
- Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Wildcard pick – Samiullah Shenwari
Top 5 fantasy picks | India | Asia Cup super four | 5th match | Dubai
- Rohit Sharma
- Ravindra Jadeja
- Kuldeep Yadav
- KL Rahul
- Siddarth Kaul
Wildcard pick – Manish Pandey
Afghanistan (possible) – 1. Mohammad Shahzad (wk) 2. Ihsanullah/Javed Ahmadi 3. Rahmat Shah 4. Hashmatullah Shahidi 5. Asghar Afghan © 6. Mohammad Nabi 7. Samiullah Shenwari/Najibullah Zadran 8. Rashid Khan 9. Gulbadin Naib 10. Mujeeb Ur Rahman 11. Aftab Alam.
India (possible) – 1. Rohit Sharma © 2. Shikhar Dhawan/Ambati Rayudu 3. KL Rahul 4. Dinesh Karthik/Manish Pandey 5. Kedar Jadhav 6. MS Dhoni (wk) 7. Ravindra Jadeja 8. Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Siddarth Kaul 9. Kuldeep Yadav 10. Yuzvendra Chahal 11. Jasprit Bumrah/Khaleel Ahmed.