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25-Sep-2018 05:05:00 GMT
Afg v Ind, Super Four Match 5, Dubai

India eye to test bench strength before final

Dubai: After wins over Bangladesh and Pakistan in the Super Four stage, India have all but sealed a place in the final.

Afghanistan lost both their Super Four matches but narrow margins.

India have been on a roll after an unimpressive start against Hong Kong, with couple of one-sided victories over arch-rivals Pakistan and an equally facile one against Bangladesh.

With a spot in Friday's final all but sealed, skipper Rohit Sharma may want some of his untested middle-order batsmen to get quality time in the middle against someone of Rashid Khan's calibre.

Often in cricket, the 'Law of Averages' catches up with the best performing teams at a critical juncture.

Shikhar Dhawan (327) and skipper Rohit (269) have done the bulk of the scoring in the four matches so far with very little contribution being required from the other batsmen in the line-up. The next highest scorer is Ambati Rayudu (116 runs) because he comes in at No 3.

The problem has been lack of batting time for the likes of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav and Dinesh Karthik so far.

Dhoni's achilles heel of late has been to keep the scoreboard ticking in pressure situations that the middle-overs throw up.

If the likes of Rashid Khan and Mujeeb ur Rahman can put pressure, it will be a good warm-up for the middle-order trio before the final match.

The Indian captain might fancy batting first in case he wins the toss, which in turn will give his team a chance to bat 50 overs instead of chasing another modest total.

The Indian bowlers have been splendid on the slow Dubai International Stadium track with all the bowlers enjoying an economy rate of less than five runs per over.

The spinners have been on a roll with Yuzvendra Chahal (5 wickets at 4.61 runs per over) and Kuldeep Yadav (5 wickets in 4.01 runs per over) have been tight as usual while Jasprit Bumrah (7 wickets with 3.37 runs per over) has been exceptional at the death with his yorkers.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (6 wickets at 4.08 per over), in his comeback tournament, has also been consistent.

There is a possibility that India might rest both Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah before the summit clash to help them recharge their batteries.

In such a scenario, two among Deepak Chahar, Siddharth Kaul and Khaleel Ahmed will take their spots in the playing XI for the game.

For Afghanistan, a win against the fancied Indian side will be a great end to the tournament where they have been competitive throughout, only losing out due to lack of experience.

Having packed off Sri Lanka in the group league stage and crushed Bangladesh, Afghanistan were done in by inexperience during the fag end of the Super Four matches against Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Against Pakistan, their bowlers couldn't hold nerve in the final over while their batsmen found it difficult to read Mustafizur Rahman's variations in the final over.

Afghanistan despite back-to-back losses against Pakistan and Bangladesh, no changes are expected from the Afghans.

Teams from:

Rohit Sharma (Capt.), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Deepak Chahar, Siddarth Kaul, K Khaleel Ahmed, Lokesh Rahul, Manish Pandey

Afghanistan: Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Ihsanullah Janat, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan (Capt.), Mohammad Nabi, Samiullah Shenwari, Rashid Khan, Gulbadin Naib, Aftab Alam, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Javed Ahmadi, Najibullah Zadran, Munir Ahmad, Sayed Shirzad, Sharafuddin Ashraf

Pitch and condition:
The pitch is again expected to be a batting paradise with a good amount of help to the spinners.

Stats and trivia

  • India leads the head to head between the two nations 1-0 with a win in an Asia Cup match which was held in 2014.
  • Bhuvneshwar Kumar needs four wickets to reach 100.

Match facts
Tuesday September 25, 2018
Start time: 1530 local (11:30 GMT, 5pm IST)

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