The weather is set to be a factor, but India have a lot of other things to worry about for Sunday’s Asia Cup Super 4s clash against Pakistan.
Their batting was a major letdown when the two teams clashed in their opening match of the tournament.
India’s top order collapsed cheaply against the Pakistani pace battery as they were reduced to 66/4 inside 15 overs.
If not for Ishan Kishan’s sparkling half-century (81) and his 138-run stand for the fifth wicket with Hardik Pandya, who played a responsible knock of 87, India would have struggled to get even 200.
The Pakistan pace trio of Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf made most of the overhead conditions to claim all 10 wickets between them.
India’s openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill redeemed themselves with half-centuries in the rain-hit match against Nepal, but come Sunday they will face another test of fire against Pakistan.
The weather forecast is not very encouraging. India’s match is again likely to be impacted by rain with AccuWeather’s forecast showing 90 percent chance of rain on Sunday.
Bizarrely, the Asian Cricket Council moved in swiftly to schedule a reserve day in case the match is not completed on Sunday because of rain.
It is the same ACC, who were stubborn enough not to move the matches from Colombo to Hambantota at PCB’s request despite the forecast for heavy rain.
Rain or not, India are likely to continue with the same batting order. Seniors Rohit and Virat Kohli, both of whom fell to left-armer Shaheen Afridi in the September 2 game, will want to redeem themselves with emphatic knocks on Sunday.
Fit-again K L Rahul has joined the team, but he could find it difficult to break into the playing XI especially after Kishan’s superb knock against Pakistan. Ishan being a left-hander also adds variety to India’s right-handers-dominant batting line-up.
Rahul’s return will put pressure on Shreyas Iyer, who returned after a long injury lay-off against Pakistan, but fell for 14 in that match.
None of India’s top order batters chip in with a few overs, which means they have to go into every match with five specialist bowlers plus Pandya.
Jasprit Bumrah is back to lead the bowling after he missed the match against Nepal to attend the birth of his son Angad. Mohammed Shami, who opened the bowling against Nepal, is likely to retain his place along with Mohammed Siraj.
Shardul Thakur, who went for 26 runs in four overs while taking a wicket against Nepal, could make way for Bumrah, with Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav the two specialist spinners.
Probable XI: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj.
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- Asia Cup 2023
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