The Asia Cup 2018 moves to the inconsequential India v Afghanistan game. In the context of the tournament, the result of the game won’t alter the fate of the 2 sides. While India has already qualified for the final, Afghanistan stands no chance for a qualification. While India won both their Super 4 games, Afghanistan lost both theirs.
India’s journey in the tournament has bee daunting. Barring the first game against Hong Kong, the Men in Blue have absolutely outclassed every opposition that they met. They defeated Pakistan twice and also got the better of Bangladesh. There were talks about the Indian team being weak in the absence of Virat Kohli but Rohit Sharma & Co. have proved otherwise.
On the other hand, Afghanistan came into the tournament with the tag of being the underdogs. But the Asghar Afghan-led side has forced one and all to turn their attention towards them. They beat Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the group stage and ended up being the table-toppers. In the Super 4 stage, they lost both the close games against Pakistan and Bangladesh. The current situation doesn’t justify the brand of cricket these guys have played.
Despite being fantastic so far, Afghanistan’s biggest challenge lies ahead. Team India has been brilliant throughout and Afghanistan will be pushed to the limits against them. This is the second time these 2 nations will meet in ODI cricket. The previous meeting happened in the 2014 Asia Cup in which India had inflicted a one-sided victory.
Here is our prediction for the India v Afghanistan game
Case1: If India bats first
First Innings score prediction: 290-300
Result prediction: India will win the match by 70-80 runs
Case2: If Afghanistan bats first
First Innings score prediction: 180-190
Result prediction: India will win the match by 6 wickets
Head to head in ODIs
Total ODIs: 1, India won: 1, Afghanistan won: 0, No Result: 0
Indian openers have put up a show of masterclass each time they have stepped out on the pitch. Shikhar Dhawan is the leading run-getter while Rohit Sharma is just next to him. As the Men in Blue have already qualified for the final, they might look to test their bench strength. We might see a few changes in the line-up to accommodate the batsmen who have been warming the benches so far.
The bowlers have been outstanding. They haven’t let any opposition get away to a big score. Now that the big final lies ahead, the key bowlers might be rested. The likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar could be given a break to include Deepak Chahar or Khaleel Ahmed in the mix.
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Khaleel Ahmed
The Afghan batters have put up a great fight in the tournament. Previously, the side was known for Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb Ur Rahman to a certain extent. But now the world is familiar of the batting talent the side possesses. The likes of Ihsanullah Janat, Rahmat Shan and Hashmatullah Shahidi are known figures in the game of cricket.
Afghanistan has relied on the spinners to restrict the opposition. But the Indian batsmen have been outstanding. They have had very little trouble against spin or pace. The new cricketing nation would want to exit the tournament by doing something worth remembering. Hence, they would want to make life difficult for the strong Indian batting line-up.
Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Ihsanullah Janat, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan (c), Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Mujeeb Ur Rahman