The 14th edition of Asia Cup is going to begin from 15th September, and for the first time in UAE. For the first time, the tournament will have 6 teams which include India, Pakistan, Srilanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Hongkong. 5 teams were previously determined while Hongkong came through qualifiers. India has been kept with Pakistan and Hongkong in group B while Srilanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are in group A which can be considered the group of death. India, the 6 times Asia cup champions will take on twice the winner of Asia Cup, Pakistan in a very high voltage match on 19th September. Without being overconfident, we here think that India has got all areas covered to win this tournament and here are the five reasons why they can win the tournament.
1. Top order
Indian squad might be missing the services of Virat Kohli in this tournament but that doesn’t make the team’s top order lot weaker. India has got the best opening pair in the world with the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma. Don’t make a mistake of judging Dhawan by his red ball performances, he still is a very fine ODI player. Same goes for Rohit Sharma. Both possess a capability of dismantling any bowling attack on a given day. They will be followed by young but supremely talented KL Rahul who just showed what he can do in IPL and last test however, he’s still to prove his mettle in ODIs.
2. Excellent fast bowlers
The combination of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and Shardul Thakur makes this team an exciting fast bowling unit and the one on par with or probably better than even Pakistani bowling unit. If they sort out some of the important issues like bowling too many noballs, they can be handy even on the dead pitches of UAE. Bhuvi is fresh after an injury while Bumrah is in scintillating form after England tour. Hardik & Shardul too are good 3rd bowling options.
3. Wrist spinners
It’s almost mandatory to talk about Indian wrist spinners whenever you talk about Indian ODI team. With the low and slow turning pitches in UAE, the Kulcha- combination of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal will have a massive role to play in the middle overs. They can not repeat the mistake Ashwin and Jadeja did in the champions Trophy 2017 final where they just wanted to contain the run flow. With these two attacking options in the middle overs, Rohit Sharma must be hoping he doesn’t have a lot of headache going to the death overs.
4. Easier group
India has been kept with Pakistan and Hongkong in group B and even if India loses to Pakistan, they’re fixed to move to the super four because Hongkong isn’t going to possess any serious threat to them. On the other hand, if you look at the other group, Srilanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are there and all three teams are nearly on par in terms of capacity. After India Vs Pakistan, Srilanka Vs Bangladesh and Bangladesh Vs Afghanistan will be a rivalry to watch out for as these teams have started to compete hard against each other. The first match of Asia Cup will be played between Srilanka and Bangladesh on 15th September, 5:00 PM IST.
5. Experience of playing pressure games
India comparatively has lot more experience of playing knockout games than its counterparts. The biggest threat for India in this tournament will be Pakistan who beaten them in the Champions Trophy final last year. However, in the last few ICC tournaments, India has been playing more knockout matches than any other team participating in this tournament and they certainly know how to handle their nerves in an India Pakistan game or rather any big game. India will play their first game on 18th September against HongKong followed by a match against Pakistan the next day. India will probably be playing Pakistan thrice in this tournament which makes this tournament a spicy one.