India vs Sri Lanka: Preview and Prediction
India and Sri Lanka are set to compete in the Asia Cup final, as Pakistan was eliminated in a dramatic turn of events on Thursday. The defending champions, Sri Lanka, will up the ante in the final to get the title back in front of their countrymen.
Earlier in the week, India defeated Sri Lanka by a margin of 41 runs in Colombo, securing their place in the top two of the Super 4 stage of the 50-over competition. This outcome paved the way for a crucial match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, with the victor earning a spot in Sunday’s final at the R Premadasa Stadium.
On Thursday, Sri Lanka managed to secure a thrilling victory over Pakistan, with Kusal Mendis scoring 91 runs and Charith Asalanka contributing an unbeaten 49, winning by just two wickets on the final ball of the match.
Meanwhile, India and Bangladesh will engage in a less consequential match for pride at R Premadasa Stadium on Friday evening. India has an impressive track record in the 50-over Asia Cup, having won the tournament seven times, while Sri Lanka and Pakistan have each claimed the trophy five and two times, respectively.
What has happened so far?
Sri Lanka has recorded four wins out of their total five matches. They won a thrilling game against Afghanistan and battered Bangladesh both times they met. On Thursday, the Lankan Lions eliminated Pakistan from the tournament after losing their previous fixture to India by 41 runs on Tuesday.
While India has been unbeaten so far. India had a washed-away match against Pakistan but won against Nepal with ten wickets in hand. In the Super Four stage, India battered Pakistan by 228 runs courtesy of centuries from Virat Kohli and KL Rahul. Against Sri Lanka, the match got very close but the Men in Blue were exceptionally clinical with the ball and pulled out another win there as well.
India and Sri Lanka have played a whopping 166 matches against each other. While India enjoyed 97 wins over Lanka, they only have 31 wins on the away soil. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, has 57 wins to its name, out of which 28 have come on their home soil.
Rohit Sharma (India): Given the fact that Sri Lanka is one of Rohit Sharma’s favorite opponents to target, there will be a high chance for Rohit Sharma to go all out on the final day of the Asia Cup.
The Indian captain is yet to fine-tune his ODI batting ahead of the World Cup, and the final of Asia Cup 2023 will be the best opportunity to do so. So far in this Asia Cup, Sharma has performed really well.
After getting out for 11 runs in the first match against Pakistan, Sharma has hit three consecutive 50-plus scores. This is an excellent sign for the Indian batting that the top-order woes seem to be diminishing. Sharma is one of the best ODI batters for India, and a lot will be on his shoulders against the second-most successful team in Asia Cup history.
Kusal Mendis (Sri Lanka): Kusal Mendis was exceptional in the previous match acting as an anchor to Lanka’s innings against Pakistan as he got out in the nervous nineties yet again. Mendis stood really tall on one end while the other end lost too many wickets in the last ten overs.
The 28-year old has been exceptional this Asia Cup. He played a phenomenal innings of 92 runs against Afghanistan. His half-century against Bangladesh was also very crucial for his side. Barring India, he has performed consistently well and he will be looking to change his performance against the ODI giants in the final.
India: Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma ©, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj
Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanaka, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka ©, Maheesh Theekshana, Dunith Wellalage, Pramod Madhushan, Matheesha Pathirana
The quality levels of the squads suggest that India should win this encounter without a shadow of a doubt. The Indian team would look to register their eighth tournament victory. India undoubtedly has an upper hand if we look at the experience.
Although Srilanka has a lot on charts to defend the title. Being the hosts, Srilanka will also want to give a reason to celebrate to their countrymen before they head for the World Cup. The Asia Cup 2023 final will surely be a sight of thrill between the tournament’s best teams.