One poor performance is all it takes to put a team in danger of losing the Asia Cup. The hurdle Pakistan had after losing to India in the group stage was overcome. After losing to Pakistan in the Super 4 round, India is currently in a perilous situation.
The team led by Rohit Sharma cannot afford to lose to Sri Lanka on Tuesday in Dubai. In order for the reigning champions to have a chance of making the final, they must hope that other outcomes go their way. And Sri Lanka will rise to the top of the odds to play in the summit match.
Sri Lanka’s tournament debut wasn’t good. After being defeated in the first game by Afghanistan with 59 balls remaining, they were dismissed for 105. However, since then, Sri Lanka has managed to pull off two spirit-boosting victories, chasing down 184 in a crucial group match against Bangladesh and 176 in their opening Super 4 game against Afghanistan.
The batsmen for Sri Lanka aren’t exactly world T20 superstars, but a large target seems to free them up. Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s 45-ball 84 against Afghanistan was overcome by Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka, and Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s fast 30s. They might employ the same strategy when pursuing India as well.
India must beat Sri Lanka
Even though India lost to Pakistan on the penultimate ball of the match, there were a few significant positives for them. In his third inning, KL Rahul scored a 20-ball 28 after beginning the game with a first-ball duck and ending it with a 39-ball 36. Perhaps the shot of the game was his straight whip for six off Naseem Shah. Making a “conscious effort” to score more frequently, Virat Kohli appeared to be performing at or near his peak. The hitters at the other end scored 45 runs off 45 while Kohli was at the crease, scoring 60 runs off 44 balls.
But in terms of their campaign, India must defeat Sri Lanka to maintain control over their own destiny at the Asia Cup. They will feel confident after they easily defeated them in a three-match T20I series at home earlier this year.
India vs Sri Lanka Match Preview: Pitch
Five innings in the last three games in Dubai had totals over 180. However, the placement of the pitch used for Tuesday’s game will determine if there is a shorter boundary that batters can take advantage of. Dew is less likely to be a factor in the hunt due to the evening temperature, which will be around 35°C, and the fact that the night won’t be much cooler.
Expect Sri Lanka will use the same lineup in an effort to complete a hat-trick of victories.
India could go back to their original lineup of three specialist fast bowlers, one specialist spinner, and two all-rounders if Avesh Khan became available. That might imply that despite playing well against Pakistan, Ravi Bishnoi will make way for Axar Patel. India might also substitute Dinesh Karthik for Rishabh Pant as Axar bats left-handed and Hasaranga is the only spinner with a stock ball that turns away from right-handed batsmen.