Every Super 4 game is crucial. Maybe there’s wiggle room for a slip, but no more. Two losses, and it’s virtually goodbye to the chances of making the final in the DP World Asia Cup.
The loss against Pakistan was tough on defending champions India. Because they can’t afford another setback, as it would jeopardise their chances of making the final. So expect India to go hard at Sri Lanka tomorrow (Tuesday). Harder than they did against Pakistan on Sunday.
There will undoubtedly be some soul-searching for India after the stumble against archrivals Pakistan. The aggression at the top worked, and that would continue if the game is played on the same strip at the Dubai International Stadium. But the loss of too many wickets by the 15th over must be worrying, as India could not capitalise in the slog overs.
Bowling is another area of concern, especially in the absence of Ravindra Jadeja. Hardik Pandya, who was shoehorned into the frontline bowler’s role, suffered without help from the pitch. Can India afford to play Deepak Hooda as a batsman since he wasn’t given a bowl? Will Axar Patel replace him to beef up the bowling? There are enough points to ponder for coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma.
Positive batting display
Sri Lanka has no such worries. After the ignominious loss to Afghanistan in the opener, the islanders turned their game around when facing the exit. Their positive batting helped fashion the crucial victory over Bangladesh in the preliminaries and the revenge win over Afghanistan in the Super 4. Almost all batsmen except Charith Asalanka have been among the runs.
But the lack of bite in the bowling must concern skipper Dasun Shanaka. Seamer Dilshan Madushanka bowled some tight lines, and so did offie Maheesh Theekshana and leggie Wanindu Hasaranga. Yet the Sri Lankans haven’t been able to slice open the powerplay decisively, and hence they had to chase tall scores in their last two games.
If the Sri Lankans fail to take wickets, the Indian batsmen could run away with the match. Brace for another thriller.