The group matches of Asia Cup 2018 did not turn out to be interesting. Both Sri Lanka and Hong Kong lost both their matches and were eliminated for the rest of the tournament. While, Sri Lanka did not show much intent, on the other hand, Hong Kong gave a tough fight to India and proved to the world that they deserve to get their ODI status back.
Therefore, as Super Fours have started between India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, let us review what has been their strengths and weaknesses.
The strength for them is the batting form of Mushfiqur Rahim and the bowling performance by Shakib Al Hasan. Rahim has already made a century and by picking six wickets in three matches, Shakib is currently the leading wicket-taker for Bangladesh.
The major weakness for them is their inexperienced opening department because Tamim Iqbal was ruled out of the Asia Cup with the wrist injury.
They have lost two matches in this tournament and in both the games, their experienced players Rahim, Shakib and Mahmudullah failed to perform.
Therefore, it is important for Bangladesh that at least one out of these three batsmen plays a long inning.
The strength of Pakistan is the current batting form of Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik.
Babar is at present the leading run-getter for Pakistan and Imam and Malik are currently averaging 66 and 103 respectively in this tournament.
The first weakness is the poor form of Fakhar Zaman, but it has not worried Pakistan much, as Imam and Babar have nullified that with their batting.
Their other weaknesses are except for Shoaib Malik no other batsmen are looking in form in the middle order, which can hurt if top three fails to perform and their bowlers are not able to pick wickets at regular intervals, the major reason for that is their poor fielding, fortunately, it has not affected the end result which a team wants.
The form of Hashmatullah Shahidi, Rahmat Shah in batting and Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman in bowling has been their strength in this Asia Cup. Shahidi is at present the leading run-getter and Rashid Khan is the leading wicket-taker for them, in fact, both Rashid and Mujeeb are currently leading the wicket-taker list of the tournament with seven and six wickets in three matches respectively.
The weakness for them is they are unable to get a good start from their openers, which transfers the pressure on their middle and lower middle order batsmen to put a respectable total on the board, which they have already done twice in this tournament.
India has almost ticked all their boxes, the batting form of Rohit Sharma, the white ball form of Shikhar Dhawan, the middle muddle being solved and Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah picking wickets in their first spell have all provided India positive results. At present, Dhawan is leading run-getter of the tournament with 213 runs in three games at an average of 71.
As Kumar and Bumrah have started picking wickets, Yuzvendra Chahal’s and Kuldeep Yadav’s strike rate of picking wickets has worsened a little, fortunately for India, other spinners like Kedar Jadhav and Ravindra Jadeja have provided regular breakthroughs.
Wrapping it up!
As the Asia Cup has reached the key juncture, hope all the four teams maintain their strengths and convert their weaknesses into strengths for the remaining matches.
About the Author: Parth Baxi.
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