Match Preview – India vs Sri Lanka, 2022 Asian Cup, 9th Match, Super Four

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One bad result is enough to leave a team staring at potential Asian Cup elimination. Pakistan faced – and overcame – that challenge after losing to India in the group stage. And now it is India that is in a precarious position after losing to Pakistan in the Super 4 round.

Rohit Sharma’s team cannot afford to lose to Sri Lanka on Tuesday in Dubai. If they do, the defending champions will have to rely on other results their way to stand a chance of reaching the final. And Sri Lanka will be favorites for a place in the top battle.

Sri Lanka did not start the tournament well. They were sent off for 105 in the opening game, then watched as Afghanistan rushed off the target with 59 balls left. Since then, however, Sri Lanka has had two morale-boosting wins, namely 184 chases in a must-win group match against Bangladesh, and 176 in their first Super 4 match against Afghanistan.
Sri Lanka’s batters aren’t world-traveling T20 superstars, but a big target seems to set them free. Against Afghanistan, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka and Bhanuka Rajapaksa smashed fast 30s to beat Rahmanullah Gurbaz’ 45-ball 84. They could follow the same plan in a chase against India.
Although India lost the penultimate ball to Pakistan, they had some big positives in that match. After a first-ball duck and a 39-ball 36 in his first two innings, KL Rahul found fluency and played some beautiful shots on his 20-ball 28. His straight whip for six from Naseem Shah may have been the shot of the contest. Virat Kohli also seemed close to his best, making a “conscious effort” to score higher. While Kohli was in the fold, he scored 60 runs off 44 balls; batters on the other side scored 45 for 45.
But as far as their campaign goes, it’s crunch time, and India must beat Sri Lanka to control their own destiny in the Asian Cup. They will take confidence from having whitewashed them at home earlier this year in the three-match T20I series.

Form Guide

Sri Lanka WWLWL (last five T20Is completed, most recent first)
India LWWWW

In the spotlight

Pakistani Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan choked India on Sunday, and Sri Lanka will hope their spinners Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana can do the same. Both Hasaranga and Theekshana have impressive numbers in the UAE and also have experience bowling for the Indian batters at the IPL. On the other hand, India will also be aware of the tricks they have. All in all, it could be a game that decides the game.

After being wicketless in India’s first two games of the Asian Cup, Yuzvendra Chahal had figures of 1 for 43 from his four overs in the Super 4 match against Pakistan. That performance was on a field where the other three spinners in the match had combined numbers of 4 for 82 from 12 overs (economy 6.83). In the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, Harshal Patel and Ravindra Jadeja, India needed Chahal to improve his game.

Location and conditions

The last three games in Dubai have been five innings with scores over 180. However, it all depends on which field Tuesday’s game is played on, and the location on the square will decide whether there is a shorter boundary where batters use can make of. Evening temperatures will be around 35°C and the night won’t be much cooler, reducing the chance of dew playing a role in hunting.

Team news

Looking for a hat-trick of wins, expect Sri Lanka to stick with the same XI.

Sri Lanka (probably): 1 Pathum Nissanka, 2 Kusal Mendis (wk), 3 Charith Asalanka, 4 Danushka Gunathilaka, 5 Bhanuka Rajapaksa, 6 Dasun Shanaka (capt), 7 Wanindu Hasaranga, 8 Chamika Karunaratne, 9 Maheesh Theekshana, 10 Asitha Fernando, 11 Dilshan Madushanka.

Now that Avesh Khan is available, India can return to their original combination of three specialist fast bowlers, one specialist spinner and two all-rounders. That could mean that Ravi Bishnoi, despite doing well against Pakistan, will have to make way for Axar Patel.
Since Axar is a left-handed batter and Hasaranga is the only spinner with a stock ball turning away from right-handers, India could also replace Rishabh Pant with their designated finisher Dinesh Karthik.

India (probably): 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 KL Rahul, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Dinesh Karthik/Rishabh Pant (wk), 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Axar Patel, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Avesh Khan, 10 Arshdeep Singh, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal

Quotes

“When it comes to Asian cricket, everyone is talking about India-Pakistan games. But I don’t mind the [lack of] big talk [around our team]. I’d rather focus on the way we play.”
Captain Sri Lanka Dasun Shanaka is happy with his side flying under the radar

“When you’re under pressure, anyone can make a mistake. It was a big game. The situation was tight too… but when the environment is right, you learn from those situations. And you look forward to the next opportunity. I give credit to the captain and team management for creating such an environment where everyone feels that the next time an opportunity like this arises, we want to grab it.”
Virat Kohlic backs Arshdeep Singh after bowler dropped crucial catch in defeat to Pakistan

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