Barring India, it is Afghanistan who have the most competitive throughout this Asia Cup. They topped the group beating Sri Lanka and Bangladesh convincingly. However, in the two ‘Super Four’ games, two back-to-back narrow defeats against Pakistan and Bangladesh have cost them severely. And now with this match against Indian at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday, Afghanistan will end their campaign in this competition.
This will be Afghanistan’s first match against India in the ODI format since 2014 Asia Cup. Also, following this game they don’t have any international fixture until February next year.
Hence, the Afghans would like to come out hard and prove a point. Their batting looks settled and most of the batsmen are in-form. In bowling, the spin-trio of Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Mohammad Nabi hold the key. They have some exciting talents in the pace department as well.
For India, it is all about a match-practice ahead of Friday final. Ideally, the Indian think-tank should rest some of their first-choice players in order to test their bench strength. KL Rahul may get a look in here in place of Shikhar Dhawan, who will perhaps get a day off. The think-tank can also rest MS Dhoni and play Manish Pandey while handing over the keeping gloves to Dinesh Karthik.
In the bowling department, both Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah deserve a break following their hectic workload. In their place, 20-year Khaleel Ahmed, who impressed during his debut against Hong Kong as well as Siddharth Kaul can come in the playing XI. Though the spin-attack is expected to remain the same for the defending champions.
In this particular game, Rohit Sharma should look to defend a target for a change, if he wins the toss. The trend at the DIC stadium shows that the wicket over here gets quicker under lights and becomes easy for batsmen. So, in order to prepare his bowlers for any adverse situation in the final, Rohit and the team management should change the gameplan a little bit in this dead-rubber.
No team had any practice session on Monday. Keeping the cramped scheduled of the tournament, preserving the energy for the match-days, has been the usual trend in this Asia Cup.