It will be a repeat of the last day from the Group stages, as India and Pakistan are all set to lock horns yet again in a Super Four clash in the Asia Cup 2018 in Dubai.
After a thoroughly entertaining performance against their arch-rivals in the group clash, India will be highly confident of putting up yet another inspired performance later on Sunday. Pakistan, on the other hand, will also be a can unit especially after their narrow escape against Afghanistan.
The absence of Virat Kohli hasn’t been a factor for India in the Asia Cup 2018. The top-order and the middle-order has come good together and will continue the impressive run. Shikhar Dhawan scored a brilliant century against Hong Kong. Meanwhile, his partner Rohit Sharma has smashed a couple of consecutive half-centuries against Pakistan and Bangladesh.
India start as outright favorites
Ambati Rayudu has also been among runs in Asia Cup 2018. After getting out on zero against Hong Kong, MS Dhoni looked in good touch during the match against Bangladesh. It will always be good signs for India if Dhoni is back to form. On the other hand, the bowling department has risen to the occasion whenever the team got pushed to the corner.
They survived a scare against Hong Kong. However, there have been no such hiccups following their 26-run victory. In their next two clashes, they thrashed Pakistan and Bangladesh to get their campaign back on track.
Ravindra Jadeja made a stunning comeback against Bangladesh and will retain his place for the big match against Pakistan.
“I was only looking at when I got a chance… because last 2-3 series have been away and I’ve not played in that. So, I was motivating myself that whenever I get a chance… what’s in my hands is to perform. I was thinking more about what was in my hands, about what I can do, about how I can improve my game and how I can upgrade my game in away conditions. Those are the things I would think” – Ravindra Jadeja had said after the match against Bangladesh.
Pakistan escaped with a narrow victory against Afghanistan
It was his below-par performance against Pakistan in the Champions Trophy 2017 final which led to his ouster from the team. Meanwhile, the fast bowlers, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Jasprit Bumrah have also been in great form. The wrist spinners haven’t looked good but have not bagged enough wickets to show for their efforts.
Pakistan has been sloppy in the field and has dropped several catches in the tournament so far. In the match against the Afghans, Pakistan missed as many as four catches which almost cost them the game in the end. Their batting department has also performed well. However, opener Fakhar Zaman will look to get back among runs after a few poor days.
Babar Azam has looked in good touch. Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed should push himself up the batting order. Meanwhile, Shoaib Malik showed why the Pakistan team persists him. He smashed a match-winning 51 against Afghanistan which eventually helped Pakistan clinch a three wickets victory with three deliveries to spare.
After a resounding performance against Bangladesh, India is unexpected to make any changes. Hardik Pandya’s spot has been accepted gleefully by Ravindra Jadeja. The combinations seem perfect which has the ability to beat any top class team.
Probable XI: Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah
The Men in Green missed the services of Shadab Khan against Afghanistan due to a groin injury. However, after a good performance by Mohammad Nawaz, it will be interesting to see who gets the nod in during the big match. Shaheen Afridi who made his debut the last day is expected to retain his place especially, as Mohammad Amir is not in the best of forms.
Probable XI: Fakhar Zaman, Imam Ul Haq, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (c & wk), Faheem Ashraf/Haris Sohail, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Usman Khan, Shaheen Afridi
After a resounding performance against their arch-rivals in the group clash of the Asia Cup 2018, India will be highly confident on their chances in the tournament.
They will start as the favourites in the all-important clash against their arch-rivals later on Sunday. My prediction for the day is India only due to their sheer brilliance in all three departments in the tournament so far.