After suffering a five wicket loss against Pakistan in the Super Four stage, India have a must-win match against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup 2022 on Tuesday.
If India lose to Sri Lanka, it would be virtually impossible for Rohit Sharma’s team to make it to Sunday’s final.
India’s bowling, which was instrumental in their victory against Pakistan in the group stage encounter last Sunday, August 28, came undone on a flat wicket against the same opponents on Sunday, September 4, as Mohammad Rizwan and Mohammad Nawaz took them to the cleaners.
At the halfway mark, India looked in control with Pakistan struggling on 76/2, and another 105 runs needed from 60 balls.
Left-hander Nawaz’s promotion from No 8 to No 4 worked wonders as he took on the Indian bowlers, hitting a quickfire 42 from 20 balls, taking the pressure off Rizwan, who stroked 71 from 51 balls.
All the Indian bowlers struggled in the second half of the innings. Hardik Pandya had a day to forget as he fell for a duck before conceding 44 runs from his four overs, bowling either too short or too wide.
Experienced leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal found the going tough with figures of 1/43 in four overs, but his young colleague Ravi Bishnoi impressed with a tidy 1/26.
Arshdeep Singh, who got flak after dropping Asif Ali in the 18th over, which could have dented Pakistan big time, could not prevent the Pakistan batters from getting seven in the final over, bowling a couple of full tosses.
The dropped catch proved vital as Asif hit a six and a four off Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the 19th over, which went for 19 runs.
India may also rue not getting 15-20 runs more when they had batted. At one stage, India looked set for a total in excess of 200, but Pakistan’s bowlers kept chipping away at the wickets in the middle overs.
Virat Kohli smashed 60 from 44 balls, but there was hardly any support at the other end, especially in the end overs when India needed to score plenty of boundaries.
Suryakumar Yadav (13 from 10 balls), Rishabh Pant (14 from 12 balls), Hardik Pandya (0 from 2 balls) and Deepak Hooda (16 from 14 balls) failed to get going and undid the good work of the top order.
India will rue leaving out designated ‘finisher’ Dinesh Karthik, as they struggled to get boundaries at the end, hitting just four fours and a six in the last five overs.
The selection gamble of going into the Asia Cup with just three fast bowlers is also hurting India. After Avesh Khan was ruled out of the Pakistan match after being ‘a little unwell’, there was no other pace bowler to fall back on.
Someone like Deepak Chahar, who has done well with the ball in the IPL and also played some good knocks with the bat, would have come in very handy in these situations.
It remains to be seen what changes India will consider for the all-important game against Sri Lanka, who will feel confident after back to back wins against Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
Will India bring back Karthik in the playing XI and leave out Pant, who is yet to make a mark for India in white ball cricket?
Could Ravichandran Ashwin come in for one of the two leg-spinners against Sri Lanka, who have three left-handers in their top six?
Likely XI: Rohit Sharma, K L Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Deepak Hooda, Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh.
Who do you think should be part of India’s playing XI for Tuesday’s Asia Cup match against Sri Lanka?
Please select your team from the list and do post your playing XI in the message board below:
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