Euro 2020 Special

India vs Sri Lanka Asia Cup 2022 Review: India on the Brink of Elimination


For the second time in three days, India found themselves on the wrong end of a successful run chase, with Sei Lanka the latest side to beat them in the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup. The result means that India are on the brink of elimination from the tournament they had seemed favourites to win for an eighth time just a few days ago.

Their last remaining hope is for Afghanistan to beat Pakistan in their match on Wednesday, and then they too, must beat the Afghans and rely on Sri Lanka to beat Pakistan in turn. And, even then, that may not be enough if they have an inferior Net Run Rate.

Sri Lanka, however, know they will be appearing in Sunday’s final, whatever happens in their final game against Pakistan.


Match recap

Sri Lanka won the toss in Dubai and invited India to bat first. And they made a fine start with their ball, taking the early wickets of KL Rahul and Virat Kohli, before captain Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav led the rescue effort with a stand of 97 for the third wicket. Sharma fell for 72, but Yadav would go on to make 34. However, too many batters got themselves out playing poor shots, and, although they finished the innings on 173/8, it was not necessarily as many as they should have scored, given the platform provided to them.

Loku Marakkalage was the best of the Sri Lankan bowlers, taking 3 – 24.

Sri Lanka’s opening pair of Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis gave their reply a fine start, putting on 97 for the first wicket, before the Indian spinners of Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravichandran Ashwin seemed to take control, taking four wickets for the addition of just thirteen runs in the space of three overs.

At that point, the odds seemed to favour India, but an unbeaten stand of 64 between Bhanuka Rajapaksa and captain Dasun Shanaka effectively took the match away from India. They did not allow themselves to get bogged down, always keeping the scoreboard moving, and, in the end, reached their target with two balls to spare.

The team that had seemed out of the Cup after losing their first group match to the Afghans heavily have bounced back in fine fashion.


Key talking points

India’s unsettled line-up

Although the injury to Ravindra Jadeja and Avesh Khan’s illness have not helped, India have struggled to find their best line-up in this tournament, and that was evident again with the inclusion of the experienced Ashwin for the comparative novice Ravi Bishnoi, whilst once again there was no place for Dinesh Karthik.

With the World Cup now looming, the time for experimentation is fast running out, and chop and changing the personnel like this does nothing for team morale and unity.


No panic

Indian captain, who found some overdue form in this match with 72 scored off just 41 balls, insists that there is no need to panic, and that the team is relaxed despite the two consecutive defeats. Nevertheless, he knows that the Indian media will begin asking serious questions after losing to a team against whom they had much the better head to head record.


India pacers suffer

Whilst the experienced spin duo of Ashwin and Chahal looked, at one stage, as if they might tilt the match in favour of their side, it was not a night that the Indian seamers will remember with any joy, as they emerged wicketless.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been one of the most reliable performers in T20I cricket for years, but he conceded 14 runs in the 19th over this time, having also given up 19 runs to the Pakistanis in the same over against the Pakistanis.  Sharma was quick to defend him, arguing that anybody can have an off-night, but, with Jasprit Bumrah a major fitness doubt for the World Cup, India need their main strike bowler firing on all cylinders.


Were India out-thought?

On the night, it can be argued that the Sri Lankan captain Shanaka out-thought his counterpart Sharma. That is because, when they bowled, they offered up the side of the ground where the boundary was longer, and it was noticeable how many Indian batters got themselves out this way.

However, when their side batted, they deliberately targeted the shorter side, enabling them to keep the boundaries coming, and helping relieve any pressure that might have been built up.




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