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Asia Cup 2018: Super Four, Match 5, India vs Afghanistan, Preview: Asghar Afghan’s men hope for one final hurrah before bowing out

Will Team India's famed batting lineup be tested in this fixture?

Afghanistan team
Afghanistan team. (Photo Source: GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

India and Afghanistan will be facing off in the dead rubber of the ongoing Asia Cup Super Four stage in Dubai. The fortunes of the teams are contrasting as the former side has been already qualified for the final of the tournament while their opponents have lost a couple of extremely close matches. There is no doubt that Afghanistan has a lot of talent and they have pushed better teams to the corner in the last few days. However, they will have to up their game by a lot if they are to compete against this Indian team.

Asghar Afghan and his men will be keen on bowing out on a high from the Asia Cup after the way they’ve performed so far. Though even they must’ve realised that it is not going be easy by any stretch of the imagination. Most importantly, they will be moved out of their comfort zone as the match will be played in Dubai and not Abu Dhabi. The pitches in Dubai have been flat under lights with the spinners getting only a little bit of help in the afternoon.

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Also, the way India is batting currently, they might have to bring Rashid Khan into the attack early and this is where their strategy will be tested. While their potential is not being questioned at all but if they manage to push this game deep and put the Men in Blue under pressure, surely Afghanistan will hold themselves in good stead going forward.

On the other hand, Rohit Sharma‘s troops aren’t worried at all. They must be taking this as just another game. But surely they won’t make a mistake of taking the opposition lightly after what happened against Hong Kong. The bowlers will have to be on the money from the word go and the same applies for the batters after which the results will follow automatically.

Team Combination

India

Team India is likely to test their bench for this encounter. But they wouldn’t make a wholesale of changes like they did for their opening game. KL Rahul might get a game finally in place of Dinesh Karthik and Khaleel Ahmed is likely to come in for Bhuvneshwar Kumar who will need a rest after playing back-to-back games in the sapping heat. The rest of the line-up should be the same.

Probable XI: Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, KL Rahul, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Khaleel Ahmed, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal

Afghanistan

Afghanistan players have fought till the very end and they will do the same in this fixture. There is no need to change their combination which has worked well for them in this tournament. However, the batsmen must take care of playing lesser dot balls in the middle overs which have put them under pressure in the fag end of the innings. An unchanged playing XI is expected for Afghanistan’s final match.

Probable XI: Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Ishanullah Janat, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan (c), Mohammad Nabi, Samiullah Shenwari, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Mujeeb Ur Rahman

Focus will be on

Ambati Rayudu

Ambati Rayudu has so far done well in this tournament. Be it fielding or batting, the right-hander has fared decently and probably looks the favourite to nail down the number four slot when Virat Kohli comes back. However, he would like some more game time in the middle before the final and would be itching to make the mark against the better-equipped spinners.

Asghar Afghan

Asghar Afghan has found form at the right time for his team. His couple of explosive knocks have ended up on the losing side. More than his batting, Asghar’s captaincy will be tested as the Indian batsmen are in great form and he might have to bring his weapon, Rashid, earlier. His field setting will also be interesting and the newbies in international cricket will be definitely in a good place after this match as they will realise where they lack.

Stat Attack

4 – Bhuvneshwar needs only four wickets to complete 100 scalps in ODIs.

Head to Head

Matches – 1 | India Won – 1; Afghanistan Won – 0

Broadcast details

TV – Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD 1

Live streaming– Hotstar

Match Timings – 05:00 PM IST, Local Time 03:30 PM

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