Asia Cup 2014 – Preview of India’s match against Sri Lanka

India would be taking on Sri Lanka in its second game for the Asia Cup 2014. After the positive results of the first games for both the teams, it can be said with a certain degree of certainty that the supporters of both the teams will be buoyed and expect an encore. Both India and Sri Lanka would also be eager to win this particular encounter given the fact that the other team is a title contender and a win against such an outfit in the starting phase of the tournament will provide a good momentum.


Conditions: The match will be played at Fatullah, where the wicket has so far been true and good for strokemaking. This is one of the reasons that there have been some good totals so far. However, one feels that dew, which was such a significant factor, could play an important role in this game and dictate the toss-time strategy to a certain extent. The interesting thing is that India won its last match by batting second, which has been its dominant strategy so far in recent one day games. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, defended a total in its previous game against Pakistan. So, perhaps the toss may not play such an important role after all.


Team selection: It is unlikely that any team will make a change to a line-up that has won the previous game. Even Varun Aaron, who had a rather forgettable first match, could be expected to play the second game.


Areas to watch out for: In the first game the islanders gave an almost complete performance with Thirimanne shining with the bat and receiving exceptional support from the likes of Sangakkara and Mathews. In the bowling department, though, Lakmal leaked too many runs and that would be an area where they would like to tighten up. Also a crucial factor would be the over dependence on Malinga in the absence of Kulasekara and Eranga. He could have a bad day and that could very well create some headaches for Sri Lankan skipper as so far Malinga has been picking the wickets. Experienced names such as Mathews and Perera will need to up their bowling in this game considering Indians are comfortable against spin as opposed to seam and the spinners – Senanayake and De Silva may not enjoy bowling against India as much as they did against Pakistan.


For India, a major area of worry will be the pace bowling department. Shami has till now been the only bright light. Bhuvneshwar has been economical but has not been incisive enough. Aaron presents a tougher case for Virat Kohli though. Indian captains, of late, have not exactly been at home while handling quickies and this is one reason why someone like Umesh Yadav is sitting. MS Dhoni normally prefers control over pace and since Yadav leaks a lot of runs he does not get a regular look-in. Aaron is similar to Yadav and very soon he may need to tighten up if he wishes to be a regular member of the Indian team.


Possible results: As of now it is hard to predict the outcome of this match. However, it should be a close contest nonetheless. As far as India is concerned, defeat in this match would be a major setback but given the inexperienced nature of the line-up it will not be unexpected. They will also have 2 more matches where they can make a comeback and progress to the final. This is a young team and needs to be given some time.