After a slightly nervy start against Hong Kong, the Indian team has made light work of the opponents in subsequent matches. With the win against Pakistan in their second Super 4 encounter, Rohit Sharma’s boys have now sealed their birth in the finals and hence, a number of changes are expected in their final Super 4 clash against Afghanistan.
Here’s a look at our predicted XI for India’s Asia Cup 2018 match against Afghanistan –
The Indian skpper is having a stunning tournament, both as a captain and as a batsman. He is the in-form batsman for India and with the century against Pakistan, he has vindicated the tag of being the best opener in world cricket currently. He should lead the side against Afghanistan.
For all the talent and promise KL Rahul has to offer, he has not got a game owing to the dearth of spots in this Indian team. However, with the final berth sealed, the team management could rest Shikhar Dhawan and give Rahul a go against Afghanistan.
Rayudu has not set the stage on fire, but has done just enough to warrant a long rope in the side. However, he would be aware of the fact that he now needs to crank it up a touch and aim for triple-digit scores if there is an opportunity.
Much like Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik has had nothing much to do in the tournament so far, such has been the prolific run of the opening pair. However, if and when he gets a chance, Karthik should be ready to step up and score runs as there are plenty of options for the number four position.
He looked the part against Bangladesh, when he walked out to bat at the number four position but has not got enough time in the middle to show his form. However, there is little doubt over his importance to this team, as a keeper, as a batsman, and as a presence in general.
The biggest positive for India in this tournament has been the form of Kedar Jadhav, the bowler. He was expensive in the match against Pakistan and hence, how he adapts and adjusts against Afghanistan will be closely monitored. He is viewed as a finisher in this Indian team but has not got many opportunities to underline his importance so far.
Jadeja made a resounding comeback to the Indian ODI setup by picking up four wickets against Bangladesh. However, he was under the cosh against Pakistan as Shoaib Malik and Sarfraz Ahmed attacked him. He should still be persisted with and the onus will be on him to adjust to the ever-changing challenges ahead.
He was roped in as an injury cover and could get in a game in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has been brilliant with the new and old ball. However, the itinerary and the weather has been taxing and this could prompt the management to rest him ahead of the final. Kaul, who made his ODI debut against England, did have a great IPL and on sluggish surfaces, he should do well.
India’s X-factor with the ball, Kuldeep has been the wicket-taker for Rohit Sharma in the middle overs and in the death when the batsmen are on the charge. He should pose trouble for Afghanistan, a team which has plenty of stroke-makers.
Along with Yadav, Chahal has been the go to guy in the middle overs for the India captains in the recent past. Chahal picked up his 50th wicket in ODIs against Pakistan in the last match and his spin and wizardry should present a considerable challenge for the Afghan batsman.
After impressing in his debut match against Hong Kong, Khaleel has been forced to sit out owing to the presence of Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. However, Bumrah could be rested and this could give Khaleel another chance to prove his mettle.