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Asia Cup 2018: Probable India XI against Afghanistan on September 25

Asia Cup 2018: Probable India XI against Afghanistan on September 25

Dubai, September 24: Team India stormed into the finals of the ongoing Asia Cup 2018 after defeating Pakistan by 9 wickets on Sunday (September 23) in their second Super Four stage encounter. The Men In Blue will now face spirited Afghanistan in an inconsequential tie on Tuesday (September 25).

The two teams have met just once in the 50-over format game in 2014 which Team India won quite comfortably. The present Afghan team comprises a spirited bunch of players and the opposition couldn't afford to take them lightly. The Afghans have put up some spirited show against Pakistan and Bangladesh in the Super Four but failed to finish it due to lack of experience.

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The biggest positive for India, from this tournament, has been the form of Shikhar Dhawan. The left-handed opener has slammed two centuries and he also happens to be the leading run-scorer in the tournament. Rohit has also looked in good touch and he would also look to extend his purple patch. Bowlers have also done exceptionally well for them.

Rohit Sharma and Co., who are unbeaten in the tournament, would look to continue the winning momentum in the tournament and the team management might look to test the bench strength and give some rest to the key players so that they are in good shape ahead of the final.

The likes of KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, and Khaleel Ahmed are waiting for an opportunity and captain could give them a match practice. MS Dhoni hasn't batted much in the tournament as well and he might get a promotion at No. 4 to cement his position.

Here's how Team India's Playing XI might look like against Afghanistan:

1. Rohit Sharma

1. Rohit Sharma

The captain is looking in superlative form and would look to continue against Afghanistan as well. Rohit slammed an unbeaten century against Pakistan on Sunday night and steered his team to a massive 9-wicket win.

The 'Hitman' has so far slammed two fifties and a century in the tournament. Teammates would hope the right-handed batsman shows his class against Afghanistan. Rohit has scored 269 runs from 4 games in the tournament and possesses a strike rate of 94.72.

He would, however, be definitely tested by the spin of Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

2. Shikhar Dhawan/KL Rahul

2. Shikhar Dhawan/KL Rahul

With 327 runs from 4 games, the left-handed batsman is the leading run-getter in the tournament. Dhawan has slammed two centuries in the tournament and his average in the series involving 5-plus countries shoots up. In the World Cup he averages 51.50 (8 inns), in Asia Cup - 70. 57* (8 inns), and in Champions Trophy - 77.88 (10 inns).

The pitches in Dubai are suiting his batting and the southpaw is making the most of it. He has already slammed 7 centuries in such major ODI tournaments.

If the team management decides to rest Dhawan then KL Rahul might get a chance in the side. The right-handed batsman from Karnakata who slammed a century in the innings of the fifth Test against England might open the innings in case Dhawan is rested.

Rahul slammed a ton in the T20I series against England but warmed up the benches during the ODIs, which the Men In Blue lost. The stylish batsman, who had a prolific season in the IPL 2018 for Kings XI Punjab, deserves to be in India's ODI set-up and Kohli's absence gives him a perfect opportunity to cement his position in the limited-overs side.

3. Ambati Rayudu/Manish Pandey

3. Ambati Rayudu/Manish Pandey

Ambati Rayudu

The right-handed batsman from Hyderabad has made most of the opportunity in the absence of skipper Virat Kohli at No.3. In his comeback match against Hong Kong, Rayudu slammed a fifty and followed it up with an unbeaten 31 against Pakistan and 13 against Bangladesh. Against Pakistan on Sunday he hit the winning runs as Dhawan departed after slamming a ton. Team management might give some match practice to Manish Pandey and in that case Rayudu could be rested.

Manish Pandey

The Karnataka middle-order batsman missed the ODI limited-overs' series against England due to injury. Manish had a disappointing IPL season for Sunrisers Hyderabad but did well in the quadrangular series involving India A, India B, Australia A and South Africa A. The right-handed batsman, who has been with the team for quite some time, might get preferred over Rayudu.

4. Dinesh Karthik

4. Dinesh Karthik

The Tamil Nadu cricketer couldn't do much against Hong Kong and certainly missed out on a certain half-century. In the match against Pakistan, Karthik scored unbeaten 31* and took India home. He didn't get the opportunity to bat against Bangladesh as MS Dhoni was promoted at No. 4 and didn't get an opportunity to bat against Pakistan.

He hasn't done anything wrong so far and therefore he'll make it to the squad against Afghanistan.

5. MS Dhoni

5. MS Dhoni

The veteran wicket-keeper batsman failed with the bat in that game against Hong Kong as he was dismissed for a third ball duck. Against Bangladesh Dhoni was promoted at to No. 4 and made most of it.

The Ranchi dasher scored 33 before getting dismissed while finishing the match but by that time he had already spent some time into the middle. He didn't have to bat against Pakistan.

Dhoni is having a decent outing from behind the stumps as well. The 37-year-old has taken six catches and effected a couple of stumpings in the tournament. Dhoni's presence in the side has ensured the team doesn't panic under the pressure situation and his experience is also helping the team make most of the DRS as well.

6. Kedar Jadhav

6. Kedar Jadhav

Kedar Jadhav has a knack of picking up crucial wickets and the Indian batsman attributes his golden touch to not bowling much in the nets.

Jadhav, who has made a comeback after recovering from a hamstring injury, made a compelling contribution of three wickets in the Asia Cup 2018 clash against Pakistan on Wednesday (September 19), picking up three wickets with his deceptive side-arm action.

His services with the ball weren't required against Bangladesh but against Pakistan he didn't get any wickets. In the absence of Hardik Pandya - the all-rounder, Kedar's role as a batsman would also be crucial for Team India. The right-handed-batsman would come in to bat at No. 6.

7. Ravindra Jadeja

7. Ravindra Jadeja

The Saurashtra all-rounder made a comeback in the ODI set up after more than a year and it looked as if Jadeja was waiting for that opportunity.

The left-arm spinner picked up a match-winning four-for and rattled Bangladesh's middle order. Jadeja didn't get any wickets against Pakistan although he bowled well. Against Afghanistan, he would look to get some wickets.

The all-rounder, who came in as a replacement to Axar Patel, was awarded the man of the match for his bowling performance. Considering his batting exploits, lower down the order, Jadeja makes a perfect batsman at No. 7. The southpaw has the ability to play big shots lower down the order and this makes him an ideal replacement to Hardik Pandya.

8. Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Khaleel Ahmed

8. Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Khaleel Ahmed

The UP pacer missed the Test series in England due to injury and was out of action for almost two months. The speedster looked little rusty against Hong Kong but regained his prime against Pakistan and ended up winning the man of the match for his figure of 3/15 and against Bangladesh, he again picked up 3 and again got those early breakthroughs. On Sunday, he didn't get any breakthrough early on and leaked 22 runs from one over in the middle overs.

Team management might rest Bhuvneshwar against Afghanistan so that their strike pacer gets some rest and prepares for the final where team might face Pakistan.

If Bhuvneshwar is rested then young Khaleel Ahmed could get another chance in the playing XI. He made his debut against Hong Kong and picked up 3 wickets. The left-arm pacer must be rearing to get another chance and showcase his skills.

9. Yuzvendra Chahal

9. Yuzvendra Chahal

The wrist-spinner couldn't pick any wickets against Pakistan and Bangladesh but came back strongly in the round two against Pakistan and picked up two wickets. The wrist-spinner bowled economically well after drawing the first blood for his team on Sunday by trapping Imam-ul-Haq in front. So far, Chahal has picked up 5 wickets in the tournament.

10. Kuldeep Yadav

10. Kuldeep Yadav

The chinaman was India's key bowler in the limited-overs' series against England and almost looked unplayable. The Kanpur wrist-spinner has been crucial to India's success in the tournament as the wrist spinners are ruling the roost with the white ball these days.

Kuldeep picked up two wickets against Pakistan on Sunday and gave some jolt to the Pakistan team in the Super Four encounter. The wrist-spinner must be looking to get some wickets against Afghanistan as well. He has also picked up 5 wickets in the tournament.

11. Jasprit Bumrah

11. Jasprit Bumrah

The No.1 ranked bowler in the ODIs, Bumrah is proving why India is doing well in the tournament. In three games he has picked up 7 wickets, second highest in the tournament.

Bumrah started exceptionally well in all three games he has played. Against Pakistan in the super four stage, Bumrah leaked just 29 runs and picked up 2 wickets and it was his disciplined bowling in the death that ensured Pakistan were 20-30 runs short.

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    Story first published: Monday, September 24, 2018, 16:41 [IST]
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