It is officially now a dead-rubber, given Pakistan have edged past Afghanistan by one-wicket in a nail-biter here in Sharjah. India and Afghanistan, courtesy of their losses against Pakistan and Sri Lanka are out of the competition. But there is still a lot to fight for, just months before the T20 World Cup Down Under.
For India, it is a matter of finding the right combination, via the trial and error method. Indian skipper Rohit Sharma in the press conference the other night, suggested that India will still try and test out combinations (5 bowlers/6 bowlers) before the global event.
On the other hand, for Afghanistan, it is perhaps their last opportunity to take on India before the event Down Under. So, there will be a point or two to prove for them.
Ground Details and Team Combination
Dubai has arguably been the better scoring venue out of the two in this year’s Asia Cup. But having said that, the average first-innings score at the venue is just 159. The last encounter at the venue was India’s second Super four encounter against Sri Lanka, where the Men in Blue scored 173 in the first innings.
Sri Lanka made light work of the run-chase, winning by six wickets. Barring the first two clashes at the venue, most of the totals have been above the 150-run mark, suggesting that the teams would have to score more than 180 if they are batting first.
Unlike Sharjah, it is the pacers reign here in Dubai. 65.4% of the wickets (53) at the venue have been picked by pacers. The spinners have picked up 28 wickets but more or less, they have only played a role to stem down the run-rate, as indicated with their economy rate (6.9).
Suggested TeamWhile you could go for the above team, you can also choose your team from Cricket.com’s Fantasy Research Centre. You can use this tool to build your team with the help of algorithms. Then, based on your preferences, the platform will guide you through creating the ideal fantasy XI.
For small leagues: Suryakumar Yadav (c), Rashid Khan (vc)
For grand leagues: Mujeeb ur Rahman (c), Hardik Pandya (vc)
Stats that matter
- Despite a lean patch of form prior to the Asia Cup, Virat Kohli is India’s leading run-scorer in this year’s competition. The Indian No.3 has scored 154 runs in four innings, with a strike-rate of 122. However, in two out of the three knocks, he has come at a tricky situation for India, where his half-century has bailed the Men in Blue.
- Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s touch has been nothing short of Midas. The right-handed Afghan opener in this year’s competition has scored 152 runs, at an average of 38. Moreso, his strike-rate of 165 definitely makes him one to watch out for.
- 65.4% of the wickets at the venue (Dubai) have been picked by pacers, which means going with a pace-heavy team might be the only way.
- Indian batters record against left-arm pacers has been a worry in this year’s competition. Against the left-arm pacers, the Men in Blue average just 15.6, at a strike-rate of 116. Afghanistan possess two left-arm seamers in the form of Fareed Ahmad Malik and Fazalhaq Farooqi.
Grand League Punts
- Mujeeb Ur Rahman is Afghanistan’s leading wicket-taker in the competition, with seven wickets. Also, he is the second highest wicket-taker in this year’s Asia Cup, only behind Pakistan’s all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz. His economy rate of 5.12 and an average of 11.71 certainly could come as a threat for the Men in Blue. And, he well could be the differentiator between finishing second and first.
- India’s marquee all-rounder Hardik Pandya has had a rare dip. Barring the first game against Pakistan, where he made a scintillating impact, he has only picked up the one wicket. In addition to that, he averages 26. However, the all-rounder is a big-match player, which means picking him could be well worth the gamble. He’s due for a big score and Afghanistan’s bowling attack might well be the one that could be on the receiving end of it.
Here are the Top 10 Criclytics Projections
India XI: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Yuzvendra Chahal
Afghanistan XI: Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi (c), Karim Janat, Rashid Khan, Azmatullah Omarzai, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fareed Ahmad Malik, Fazalhaq Farooqi