In the final Asia Cup 2023 Super Four game, an inconsequential one given that the fate of the tournament final is decided, both India and Bangladesh made a lot of changes to their XI. And the tense tussle, as it turned out to be, had a lot in store for both sides. Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur, and Sakib Tanzim made gains with the new ball. The spinners on both sides dictated the proceedings throughout with Bangladesh bowling with more discipline. Captain Shakib Al Hasan and Shubman Gill starred with the bat with a few innings from here and there as well for either side. But while it was still expected that Gill or a well-set Axar Patel would finish off the game for India, they were stunned by Bangladesh. The final-bound Indian side lost by six runs, suffering their first defeat in this year’s Asia Cup.
Was the shock defeat down to the whole lot of changes India made for the match? Was India right in making as many as five changes to the line-up including resting the likes of Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, and Jasprit Bumrah?
It was only natural to expect India to make a few changes for the match to test their bench strength ahead of the ODI World Cup and also to rest a few players before the big final on Sunday against defending champions Sri Lanka in Colombo. “Virat, Hardik, Siraj, Bumrah and Kuldeep are out. Tilak makes his debut. Shami and Prasidh also come in. Suryakumar also gets a game,” said Rohit after winning the toss and opting to field.
However, moments after the loss, Rohit was asked why he made those changes and whether he wants to look back at the call made in the wake of the shock defeat. The skipper remained true to his intentions as he said that the changes were made keeping the bigger picture in mind, which is the World Cup.
“We wanted to give some game time to the guys, keeping the bigger picture in mind. Not compromising on how we wanted to play this game. Get in some players who are likely to play the World Cup,” he said.
Virat, Hardik, Siraj, Bumrah and Kuldeep have been regulars in the Asia Cup XI and will remain so during the World Cup campaign as well. Among the tested players on Friday, Tilak Varma and Prasidh Krishna are not part of the 50-over tournament while Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur, and Suryakumar Yadav are.
Shami and Thakur picked five wickets between themselves to help India restrict Bangladesh to 265 for eight. Suryakumar, on the other hand, continued his woeful form with a knock of 26 off 34, hence adding to his fifty-less run in 2023 where he has scored 153 runs only in 10 innings at 15.30.