Having already secured a place in the finals of the ongoing Asia Cup 2018 following their emphatic nine-wicket win over Pakistan on Sunday, Team India will now face Afghanistan in their last Super Four tie on Tuesday.
India have been invincible in the six-nation tournament as they defeated Pakistan twice, besides notching up wins against Hong Kong and Bangladesh. And going into the finals, they would like to maintain their winning momentum against Afghanistan.
However, they cannot afford to be complacent against the Asghar Afghan-led side as the latter have played some really good cricket in the tournament. Had luck gone their way, Afghanistan would have still been in contention for the finals. But, they suffered a narrow three-run defeat against Bangladesh which saw them getting eliminated from the tournament.
Following are the players which Rohit Sharma and Co need to watch out when they take on Afghanistan in Dubai on Tuesday:
Hashmatullah Shahidi: Hashmatullah Shahidi has been among the runs for Afghanistan throughout the tournament. After scoring valuable 37 and 58 in the group stage against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh respectively, this left-handed batsman has never looked back. In Afghanistan’s first Super Four tie against Pakistan, he scored 97*. However, his knock was not enough for his side to clinch the victory. Against Bangladesh, he again scored 71 but his side ended on the losing side only to see themselves being out of contention to make it to the finals.
So, the Indian bowlers need to come out with a plan and get him out early.
Asghar Afghan: The Afghanistan captain is one of the most experienced players for his side which can prove handy against India. He has played some crucial knocks for his team in the tournament so far and is definitely one to watch out for by the Men in Blue.
Rashid Khan: One of the most talked about cricketers in the recent times, Rashid Khan has definitely shown why he is one of the best in the business. Apart from taking wickets for his side, this star leg-spinner has played valuable innings with the bat and has steered his side to victory. He is one of those mystery spinners against whom Indian batters might face some problem. Apart from his googly and the wrong ones, his immaculate line and length is something which even Indian spinners can admire and learn from. He has taken eight wickets in the tournament so far and by no means, looks finished or tired.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman: This 17-year-old off-spinner has been one of those bowlers for Afghanistan who have not just kept the opposition in check in terms of scoring but taking wickets at crucial junctions as well. So, far he has taken seven wickets in the tournament and has provided a good support to Rashid Khan and others.
India:Rohit Sharma(c), Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Deepak Chahar, Siddarth Kaul, K Khaleel Ahmed
Afghanistan: Asghar Afghan(c), Mohammad Shahzad, Ihsanullah Janat, Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Najibullah Zadran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Aftab Alam, Samiullah Shenwari, Munir Ahmad, Sayed Shirzad, Sharafuddin Ashraf