Asia Cup 2022: It was a Tuesday night at the Dubai International Stadium in UAE where India and Sri Lanka clashed in the Super Four stage of the ongoing Asia Cup. The Rohit Sharma-led troops were facing the threat of a potential elimination and needed a win to stay self-dependent in the fight for Asian glory. But the fortunes didn't seem to be in favour of the men in blue as they lost against the Lankan lions by 6 wickets.
Top reasons why India faced defeat in a must-win clash:
India lost early wickets:
After losing the toss, India was invited to bat first on a pitch that offers assistance to both batters and bowlers. India lost two early wickets in the form of KL Rahul and Virat Kohli and the defending champions were pushed on the back foot.
India's middle order failed to fire
Even after two early wickets, Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav united to rebuild the innings. Rohit rose on the big occasion and played an astonishing knock of 72 off 41 balls. the duo stitched a 97-run stand for the fourth wicket but as soon as Rohit departed, middle-order players failed to stay on the pitch. Suryakumar soon followed his skipper while Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant were caught at the boundary and India failed to capitalise on the platform Rohit and Suryakumar had set. This led to India finishing short of the 200-run mark.
India was pushed on the backfoot early in the bowling
The Indian team could not start well with the bowl as well. With a target looking a bit shorter than what could have been a winning total, India needed to strike early. But the Sri Lankan openers dominated the play and cruised by the halfway mark, scoring at near 9 runs an over.
The bowling lacked dominance both early and in the death overs.
As Sri Lanka came out to bat, the Indian bowlers were taken to the cleaners. There were fewer dot balls and fewer wicket-taking opportunities. This helped Sri Lanka build a strong platform for the chase. India fought back with Yuzvendra Chahal providing two breakthroughs in the 12th over, the batters kept the scoring sheet ticking to go big in the final few overs.
In the final three overs, the Lankan lions needed 11 runs an over but the fast bowlers leaked those runs.
Going with two pure fast bowlers did not help India's cause
India went with two pure fast bowlers yet again after Avesh Khan was not well to be included in the squad. Going into the match, India had only two seamers fit in the main squad as Deepak Chahar was in the stand-by. Notably, Hardik Pandya's third seam option did not reap desired results on the day. Though he was superb against Pakistan in the group stage, Sri Lanka did not find it difficult to play the 28-year-old. He was expensive against Pakistan in India's defeat in the Super Four. Experts also believe that India should have three specialist fast bowlers. Former Pakistan cricketer Wasim Akram during his commentary stint in the match was left baffled on how India is playing two pure fast bowlers with an all-rounder being the third.
However, India kept on fighting but Sri Lanka was better as they are still at the top of the Super Four's points table. Team India will have to be dependent on other results and will have to beat Afghanistan to stay alive in the race for the finals of the Asia Cup 2022.