Asia Cup: Unbeaten India face bruised Sri Lanka


Victories over Bangladesh and Pakistan have left MS Dhoni’s Indian cricket team at the top of the Asia Cup points table with four – the hosts have four too, but from three games – and victory over Sri Lanka at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Tuesday will put them in pole position to seal a place in the final on March 6.

India’s net run-rate (NRR) of +1.970 is easily the best of the five competing teams, so should they lose to a smarting Sri Lanka, a win over UAE in their last match on Thursday will likely be enough to keep them afloat.

Sri Lanka are coming off a defeat to Bangladesh on Sunday, having beaten UAE in their opening match, and need a win to level on four points. Should they lose, Sri Lanka will remain on two points but from three matches, which would make their final fixture on Friday versus Pakistan as a knock-out one.

India were made to sweat in pursuit of a target of 84 against Pakistan on Saturday, losing three wickets for eight runs to left-arm pace bowler Mohammad Amir, but against a side they know well should not have as much trouble. With Lasith Malinga still a doubtful starter for Sri Lanka, the attack would comprise skipper Angelo Mathews, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dushmantha Chameera and Rangana Herath, who do not possess the pace and swing that Amir troubled India’s batsmen with.

Shikhar Dhawan sat out the Pakistan match with a niggle, and should slot back in if fit. But there are doubts over Rohit Sharma’s participation after he underwent X-ray scans Sunday on his left toe, after getting hit by an Amir delivery. India used Ajinkya Rahane as Dhawan’s replacement against Pakistan, and they also have Parthiv Patel in the squad to consider.

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