Asia Cup 2023 Team of the Tournament ft. Rohit, Gill, Siraj, and Mendis
With the way Sri Lanka played in the tournament, it never looked like they would be outclassed badly by Team India. It was a forgettable game for the Lankans as they were bowled out for just 50 runs in the final of the Asia Cup. On the other hand, Rohit Sharma & Co. won the match in the 7th over to lift their 8th Asia Cup title.
The man who made this possible was none other than Mohammad Siraj who picked up 6 wickets in the innings for just 21 runs which earned him the Player of the Match award. The rest of the four wickets too were taken by pacers including three for Hardik Pandya and one for Jasprit Bumrah.
There have been some exceptional performers in this edition of the Asia Cup and today let us take a look at the team of the tournament. Here it is:
Top Order: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, and Kusal Mendis
Indian skipper Rohit Sharma scored 194 runs in six matches at an astonishing average of around 49. He smashed the maximum number of sixes in the tournament with 11, moreover, the Mumbaikar scored three half-centuries in the tournament which is the most alongside Kusal Mendis.
In the Super Four battle against Pakistan, he set the momentum to help India put a big total on the board. The 36-year-old showed his selfless attitude in the final by sending Ishan Kishan to open the innings, else he could have ended the tournament with a lot more runs.
Shubman Gill is India’s rising star and once again he showed why he is the most promising player for India going forward. Gill ended the tournament by being the highest run-scorer with 302 runs in six matches. It included one remarkable century and two classic half-centuries.
Though the ton against Bangladesh went in a losing cause, his no-holds-barred attitude while batting has impressed every Indian fan. The quick half-century against Pakistan in the Super Four game was one of the highlights of the tournament. Gill scored with an average of around 76 and also led the charts of scoring maximum boundaries in the tournament with 35.
Undoubtedly, Virat Kohli played a memorable knock against Pakistan in the Super Four game but it is Kusal Mendis who deserves the number three spot in the team of the tournament. Mendis scored 270 runs in six matches at a brilliant average of 45, also his consistency throughout the tournament earned him the place in the top XI.
The 28-year-old had been the second-highest run-scorer with 27 boundaries and five maximums. Mendis would like to continue his fine form in India as well in the upcoming World Cup.
Middle Order: Sadeera Samarawickrama, KL Rahul, and Iftikhar Ahmed
At number four, Sadeera Samarawickrama played some exceptional innings in the tournament and has been included in the team of the tournament. He played two match-winning knocks, both against Bangladesh in the tournament and proved his worth.
The 36-year-old scored at an average of around 36 but it was his strike rate of 90 that impressed everyone. Samarawickrama can be a crucial player for Sri Lanka in the World Cup in India.
It was a tournament to remember for KL Rahul as he came back with a bang after scoring 169 runs in four games at an excellent average of 84.5. Rahul made a comeback against Pakistan in the Super Four game and straightaway scored a century to respond to his critics. He alongside Virat Kohli finished the innings in style and put India in a strong position.
Even in the low-scoring game against Sri Lanka in the Super Four stage, the Karnataka batsman scored a vital 39 off only 44 deliveries to help India go past 200. With these crucial knocks, he is now a top contender for the number four or number five position in the upcoming major event.
It has been an average tournament for Pakistan but Iftikhar Ahmed came out as one of the positives for the team. His experience in batting and bowling has helped Pakistan on a couple of occasions in the tournament.
Iftikhar scored 179 runs in the tournament at an outstanding average of around 90. His powerful hitting towards the end of the innings can be crucial for Pakistan in the World Cup coming forward in October.
Spinners: Dunith Wellalage and Kuldeep Yadav
The second-highest wicket-taker of the tournament, Dunith Wellalage picked up 10 wickets and at a brilliant average of around 18. He also picked up a fifer against India that unfortunately went in vain because of Kuldeep Yadav’s heroics from the other end.
The 20-year-old left-arm orthodox spinner is surely going to be the next big thing in Sri Lanka cricket with the way he has performed. He can also be handy with the bat and can contribute runs towards the end.
From being ignored for a long time and then making a comeback strongly a while ago, Kuldeep Yadav’s journey so far has been full of ups and downs in the past couple of years. Now, with the way he is turning the ball, it looks like no one is going to take a chance of keeping him out of the squad.
Kuldeep picked up 9 wickets in the tournament in five matches including one four-wicket haul and five-haul each. India almost lost the Super Four battle against Sri Lanka, however, some exceptional work with the ball helped his side win the game by 41 runs in the end.
Seamers: Mohammad Siraj, Matheesha Pathirana and Shaheen Afridi
In the final of the Asia Cup 2023, Mohammad Siraj delivered one of the finest bowling performances in ODI cricket by picking up 6 wickets for just 21 runs. What made this spell outstanding was how quickly he took those wickets. Overall, the right-arm fast bowler picked up 10 wickets and helped his side win the trophy.
Siraj has now been one of India’s primary bowlers for sure and if he could deliver this sort of performance in the World Cup, then who knows it could be his time to become the next hero of Indian cricket.
With 11 wickets in 6 games, Matheesha Pathirana came out as one of the best bowlers from the tournament. He bowled at an average of 25 and also picked up a crucial four-fer. Often known as the ‘Baby Malinga’, Pathirana is surely going to achieve more from here after his remarkable show in the Asia Cup.
In the virtual semi-final against Pakistan in the tournament, Pathirana picked up three wickets and helped his side restrict Pakistan to a total of 252 runs. The batters did their job well to make themselves through to the final.
One of the toughest bowlers to face at the moment, Shaheen Afridi had a great tournament with the ball as he picked up 10 wickets at an average of 23. Though he couldn’t help his side reach the final, his intent throughout the tournament was clearly visible.
Afridi’s best performance in the tournament came against India in the group match where he picked up four wickets for just 35 runs. Though the game was washed out due to rain, it could have been Pakistan’s match in the end.