In recent times, Team India’s top-order is in sublime form and that is one of the crucial reason for India’s unbeaten run in the ongoing Asia Cup 2018 as they have reached the final as well. Opener Shikhar Dhawan has scored 327 runs in four matches is the tournament’s highest run-getter while India skipper Rohit Sharma is the third in the list with 297 runs, boasting an average of 134.50.
After securing their place in the final with a one-sided win over Pakistan, India rested most of their first-choice players against Afghanistan. Despite a brilliant opening stand between KL Rahul and Ambati Rayudu, India finished the game as a tie with Afghanistan.
The Indian middle-order, which has hardly been exposed during the tournament, got its first stern test against the minnows and failed to get the team over the line. Ahead of the big final against Bangladesh, former India spinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan has said India might be concerned on this front.
In his column for Times of India, Sivaramakrishnan wrote, “India will put out their strongest XI for the final after rightly resting five first-choice players for the game against Afghanistan. Ambati Rayudu did his cause no harm at all with a muscular half-century and KL Rahul oozed class on his return to the ODI side, but question marks continue over the middle-order. They were put under pressure for the first time in the tournament, and while they can point to two dodgy decisions, the fact that India failed to get over the line can’t be disputed.”
The former spinner also praised Bangladesh who showed great resolve in edging Pakistan in a virtual semi-final on Wednesday to seal their final berth. He feels that Bangladesh’s convincing victory against Pakistan in Wednesday night’s virtual semifinal was a testament to their character and depth.
Expressing his thoughts about the Tigers further, Sivaramakrishnan wrote, “Already without Tamim Iqbal, they had also to make do without the versatile and experienced Shakib Al Hasan, and they responded magnificently with an old pro, Mushfiqur Rahim again in the forefront. Like against Sri Lanka in the league phase, Rahim rallied the batting splendidly alongside Mohammad Mithun, while Mustafizur Rahman chose the perfect night to return to wicket-taking ways.”