Did rain save India against Pakistan?
Was India’s bowling capable of defending 266?
Fans and experts may have divided opinions, but one thing is pretty clear — the Asia Cup match against Pakistan exposed a lot of chinks in the Indian batting line-up, especially the top order.
The highly rated top four of Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer all perished cheaply — within the first 15 overs, managing a combined total of 39 runs between them.
The rain and prevailing overhead conditions did favour Pakistan’s pacers, but Rohit, Gill, Virat and Iyer’s tame surrender came a big shock!
None of them looked confident and paid the price for some tenative footwork against the pace trio of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf, who got the ball to move at express pace.
Rohit and Kohli both fell to Afridi’s lethal inswingers while Gill struggled to get bat on ball during his knock of 10 from 32 balls.
The returning Iyer (14) tried to hit his way out of trouble, but fell in the trap perfectly, pulling the short ball from Rauf straight to the fielder at midwicket.
Ishan Kishan, batting at No 5, came to India’s rescue with a sparkling 82 from 81 balls, giving ample proof that he could adjust his game to the situation if need be and all but seal his place for the World Cup.
Hardik Pandya brought all his experience into play with a composed 87, playing second fiddle to Kishan for the most part before looking to attack towards the end.
Their 138-run partnership turned the Indian innings on its head as Pakistan were made to pay for some lazy tactics in the middle overs as they suddenly went on the defensive in a bid to finish the quota of their two spinners instead of trying to hunt for more wickets using their pacers.
Jasprit Bumrah’s cameo of 16 from 14 balls was a great plus for India, who are really worried about the lack of runs from their lower order.
Shardul Thakur was preferred over Mohammed Shami, who turned 33 on Sunday, for his batting abilities, but he managed just three against Pakistan.
Even though India face a must win game against Nepal in their bid to qualify for the Super Fours, this could be their final opportunity to try out players like Suryakumar Yadav, Sanju Samson, Tilak Varma, Prasidh Krishna and Axar Patel, who are all in contention for the World Cup.
India will be forced to make one change as star pacer Jasprit Bumrah, who made his comeback after a long injury lay-off in the opener against Pakistan, returns home for the birth of his first child.
Shami is all set to come back in the team and lead the attack in Bumrah’s absence, while Prasidh Krishna could also get a look-in in place of Thakur with rain again predicted to impact the game at Pallekele.
Probable XI: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Prasidh Krishna, Mohammed Siraj.
Who do you think should be part of India’s playing XI for the Asia Cup match against Nepal?
Please select your team from the list below and do post your playing XI in the message board below:
- Asia Cup 2023
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