India, Afghanistan, Super Four, Asia Cup 2018, Preview
Chahal celebrates his wicket with his spin partner, Kuldeep Yadav (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The fifth match of the Super Four stage between India and Afghanistan in the ongoing Asia Cup 2018 is going to be a dead rubber. However, the Men in Blue who are in scintillating form will not let like to take the foot off the pedal. On the other hand, Afghanistan has impressed with their performances. They have lost the last two matches by a whisker which is going to hurt them.

However, there is no denying the fact that there were some harsh lessons for the Afghan side which they must take head-on. In fact, there is a very good saying which says, “Experience cannot be bought in the market”. Thus, Afghanistan players can hit a hundred balls in the nets or bowl the same numbers of balls in the practice sessions. However, the lessons learned out there in the middle are invaluable.

India's Predicted Playing XI, Afghanistan, Asia Cup 2018
(Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

India will not like to take their foot off the pedal.

Afghanistan has played some promising cricket in the recent past and they can be proud of their performances in the Asia Cup 2018. Nevertheless, the Asghar Afghan-led side will know that they will encounter difficult challenges while playing against the in-form Indian side. Thus, they will like to take a leaf out of the Rohit Sharma’s side and pull up their socks.

On the other hand, India will like to continue with their impetus. They have been unbeaten in the tournament and has looked the most impressive side. Therefore, they would like to continue with their good form. However, India will like to fill in the missing pieces in their team. The middle order hasn’t yet be tested as Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma has done the bulk of the scoring.

Consequently, India might not alter their middle order despite it being a dead rubber. However, they can ponder to tinker with pace battery. They can afford to give rest to their either Bhuveshwar Kumar or Jasprit Bumrah and bring in Khaleel Ahmed. The southpaw pacer had impressed in his maiden outing as he had scalped three wickets against Hong Kong.

Afghanistan vs Bangladesh, Asia Cup 2018
Image Courtesy: Getty

It is going to be challenging for Afghanistan.

Hence it would be a good opportunity for them to test their bench strength. India will play 19 ODIs before they play their first match in the next year World Cup. Thus the match against Afghanistan will be a chance for them to experiment with their combination.

Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan have been in sublime form at the top of the order. They have done the bulk of the scoring and would like to continue in the similar fashion. India can think about giving a chance to KL Rahul and rest Shikhar Dhawan.

On the other hand, Afghanistan spinners, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Rashid Khan will hold the key for the team. They are in good form and they would like to receive support from the pace battery. Afghanistan can also make a change in their batting line-up.

Asia Cup 2018: Super Four, Match 5: India vs Afghanistan - Preview
Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma are in fine form/ Getty Images

India will like to continue with the impetus.

Mohammad Nabi who is the most experienced Afghanistan player as he has played all the matches for the side should be promoted to the number four position. They say you should give the maximum balls to your best batsman and Nabi has not been utilised with guile by Afghanistan.

Date and Time: 25 September 2018, 5:00 PM IST.

Venue: Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Pitch Conditions: The pitch is going to assist the spinners. There is hardly any help for the fast bowlers and they would rely on the grass left on the pitch.

Weather Conditions: There would be no respite for the players as they are going to be welcomed by heat crunching conditions.

India’s Probable XI: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Khaleel Ahmed.

Asia Cup 2018: Super Four, Match 5: India vs Afghanistan - Preview Asia Cup 2018: Super Four, Match 5: India vs Afghanistan - Preview Asia Cup 2018: Super Four, Match 5: India vs Afghanistan - Preview Asia Cup 2018: Super Four, Match 5: India vs Afghanistan - Preview

Afghanistan Probable XI: Mohammad Shahzad, Ihsanullah Janat, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Samiullah Shenwari, Rashid Khan, Gulbadin Naib, Aftab Alam, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

Stats: Bhuvneshwar Kumar needs another four wickets to get to 100 wickets in the 50-overs format.

Gautam Chauhan

Cricket is my first love. I want to be a wordsmith. I want to weave magic with my words.