Asia Cup: India face Afghanistan in dead rubber

Dubai: India is going to play their final match of the Super-4 of Asia Cup against Afghanistan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in UAE, today. According to the context of the tournament, this match is a dead rubber as India has already qualified for the finals and Afghanistan is out of the tournament.

Image source- PTI

After defeating Pakistan on Sunday, India will be  looking to give some of their second string players a run. On the other hand, Afghanistan, who has suffered two close defeats against Pakistan and Bangladesh in the Super-4 stage, will look forward for a win.

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In head to head records, India lead 1-0 with a win over the Blue Tigers in 2014. Rohit Sharma and his men have been in terrific form at the Asia Cup so far dishing out one clinical performance after another. The openers have been in sublime touch and are currently the top run-getters in the tournament.

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While Dhawan has hit 327 runs, Rohit has scored 269. Despite having little opportunity, other batsmen like Ambati Rayadu, MS Dhoni and others have also made good contributions.

Image source- BCCI

However, one area that will concern the Indian team management is the untested middle-order comprising MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav and Dinesh Karthik.

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The bowling continues to remain India’s trump card with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah leading from the front and the spin twins- Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal backing up ably.

India have already qualified for the finals and a couple of changes are in order-Deepak Chahar might get a go in place of Chahal or Kuldeep. Shikhar Dhawan might be rested and KL Rahul might get a look in.

Image source- PTI

On the other hand, despite suffering consecutive losses against Pakistan and Bangladesh, the Afghans are unlikely to tinker with their playing eleven. Hasmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Shahzad, and Rahmat Shah have been in terrific form since the beginning of Asia Cup and are among the top ten run-getters in the tourney. Spinners Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi are equally brilliant and oppositions have found it very difficult to score runs off them in these spin-friendly conditions.

The pitch is once again expected to be on the slower side with good amount of help for the spinners. The match will be a closely contested affair.