From demolishing Pakistan to defending modest 213: IND’s road to Asia Cup final | Cricket

Team India have been a dominant force in the ongoing Asia Cup 2023, enduring just one hiccup on the way to the finals. The batters have displayed fine form and the bowlers too have enjoyed a good run. Senior pro Rohit Sharma is back among the runs, having slammed three half-centuries in five clashes. Another leading figure Virat Kohli has a ton under his name, and KL Rahul, who is playing his first series after a long injury lay-off has impressed with both wicketkeeping and batting.

Virat Kohli, Kuldeep Yadav, KL Rahul and others in action(ANI)
Virat Kohli, Kuldeep Yadav, KL Rahul and others in action(ANI)

The same applies for bowling with spinner Kuldeep Yadav leading the team’s charge. Kuldeep has so far accounted for nine scalps from four encounters. Jasprit Bumrah too has shown no signs of discomfort, and Mohammed Shami has helped the team’s cause whenever given an opportunity.

As India is all set to meet Sri Lanka in the finals, we take a loot at how Rohit Sharma and Co. have fared in the tournament.

India vs Pakistan: Rain plays spoilsport

India began their campaign with a high octane encounter against Pakistan and it didn’t take long for the opposition to push Rohit Sharma and Co. on backfoot. India were reduced to 66/4 in 14.1 overs, with Rohit and Kohli falling prey to Shaheen Shah Afridi very cheaply.

However, Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya then stitched a crucial 138-run stand for the fifth wicket, which allowed India to make a comeback. The Indian innings was eventually folded for 266 in 48.5 overs.

However, there was no further action possible due to continuous drizzle as both sides shared spoils.

India vs Nepal: Rohit-Gill rock Nepal

The second India encounter between India and Nepal was also marred by rain. The action started with the debutants stunning India with some powerful strokeplay. Openers Kushal Bhurtel and Aasif Sheikh gave Nepal a good start as the pair added 65 runs for the opening wicket. Soon after the partnership was broken, Nepal lost wickets in a hurry and were five down with just 132 on the board. However, an impactful 56-ball 48 by Sompal Kami took Nepal to a respectable 230/10 in 48.2 overs.

India started the run chase on a decent note before rains joined the party and forced umpires to get DLS into play. India were then asked to chase 145 in 23 overs, which Rohit and Shubman Gill achieved in 20.1 overs. Both the openers slammed their respective half-centuries as India won the match by 10 wickets via the DLS rule.

India vs Pakistan: Reserve day carnage

After sharing spoils the previous time, the second India vs Pakistan encounter almost met with similar fate as the action moved to Colombo from Kandy. However, reserve day saved the day for fans as Virat Kohli and KL Rahul blew Pakistan away with their unbeaten centuries.

Rohit and Gill had earlier slammed fifties each before rain pushed the contest into reserve day. Kohli and Rahul, who resumed the proceedings on the reserve day, then slammed tons each, helping India pile a gigantic 356/2 in 50 overs.

Kuldeep Yadav then crashed Pakistan’s party as he completed a five-wicket haul. His efforts helped India wrap the Pakistan innings for 128 in 32 overs as Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah didn’t walk out to bat due to respective injuries.

India vs Sri Lanka: India qualify for final

India then met co-hosts Sri Lanka, whom they defeated by 41 runs to reach the finals. The match was headlined by 20-year-old Dunith Wellalage, who claimed five wickets and then gave Rohit a bit of scare with an unbeaten 42 off 46 balls.

The match started with India opting to bat but were rocked by Wellalage, who got the wickets of Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, and Hardik Pandya.

Wellalage’s effort saw India bundle out for 213. In response, Kuldeep once again emerged as the standout bowler from the Indian camp. He scalped four wickets as Sri Lanka could only manage 172/10 in 41.3 overs.

India vs Bangladesh: India’s only hiccup

India have endured just one hiccup so far, which came against Bangladesh on Friday. Having already qualified for the finals, India decided to rest a few key players and gave fresh legs a chance. However, the move didn’t yield any fruitful result as India endured a narrow six-run defeat.

Bangladesh piled a stiff 265/8 in 50 overs batting first as captain Shakib Al Hasan scored 80(85).

Shubman Gill then led India’s run chase as he scored 121 off 133 balls. Axar Patel also chipped in with a healthy 34-ball 42 but their efforts weren’t enough to take India home.

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