One bad result is all it takes to leave a team staring at possible elimination from the Asian Cup. Pakistan faced – and overcame – that challenge after losing to India in the group stages. And now it is India who are in a a precarious position after losing to Pakistan in the Super 4 round.
Rohit Sharma’s team cannot afford to lose against Sri Lanka in Dubai on Tuesday. If they do, the defending champions will have to rely on other results going their way to have a chance of making the final. And Sri Lanka will become favorites for a place in the summit clash.
Sri Lanka WWLWL (last five completed T20Is, most recent first)
In the spotlight
Pakistan’s Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan suffocated India on Sunday, and Sri Lanka will be hoping their spinners Wanindu Hasaranga and Mahesh Theekshana can do the same. Both Hasaranga and Theekshana have impressive numbers in the UAE, and also have experience of bowling to the Indian batsmen at the IPL. On the other hand, India will also be aware of the tricks they have. All in all, it could be a contest that decides the game.
Pitch and conditions
The last three games in Dubai have had five innings with scores over 180. However, it all depends on which pitch Tuesday’s match will be played on, and its location on the square will decide whether there is a shorter boundary for batsmen to exploit. Evening temperatures will be around 35°C and the night won’t be much cooler, reducing the chances of dew playing a part in the chase.
Expect Sri Lanka, looking for a hat-trick of wins, to stick with the same XI.
Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Pathum Nissanka, 2 Kusal Mendis (wk), 3 Charith Asalanka, 4 Danushka Gunathilaka, 5 Bhanuka Rajapaksa, 6 Dasun Shanaka (captain), 7 Wanindu Hasaranga, 8 Chamika Karunaratne, 9 Maheesh Theekshana, 10 Fernando Ashana. 11 Dilshan Madushanka.
India (probable): 1 Rohit Sharma (captain), 2 KL Rahul, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Dinesh Karthik/Rishabh Pant (week), 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Axar Patel, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Avesh Khan, 10 Arshdeep Singh, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal
“When it comes to Asian cricket, everyone talks about India-Pakistan games. But I don’t mind the [lack of] great speech [around our team]. I’d rather focus on the way we play.”
Sri Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka is happy with his side flying under the radar
“When you are under pressure, anyone can make a mistake. It was a big match. The situation was also stressful… but when the environment is good, you learn from those situations. And you look forward to the next opportunity. I give the credit to the captain and the team management for creating such an environment where everyone feels that the next time such an opportunity comes, we want to grab it.”
Virat Kohli supports Arshdeep Singh after the bowler dropped a crucial catch in the defeat to Pakistan