Asia Cup | Winners and losers ft. Ravindra Jadeja, Liton Das and Afghanistan cricket team

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Asia Cup | Winners and losers ft. Ravindra Jadeja, Liton Das and Afghanistan cricket team

The Asia Cup has come to an end with the Rohit Sharma-led Indian team winning the title by defeating Bangladesh in a thrilling finale. The six-team event also saw India and Pakistan playing in the UAE for the first time in 12 years and India defeating their neighbours on both the occasions.

Winners

Ravindra Jadeja

The Saurashtra all-rounder was called into the team as a replacement for Axar Patel when he was busy playing for the Vijay Hazare Trophy in Delhi. Straightway, he was at the centre of attraction as he got the first Super four game to play against Bangladesh and ended up impressing one and all with his exceptional bowling performance. Jadeja ended that game with brilliant figures of 4/29 in 10 overs announcing his comeback in limited-overs internationals. Jadeja’s fielding skills are something that a lot of people have talked about and his presence in the team helps India to stop at-least 10-20 runs. The left-handed batsman also proved that why he can be a valuable addition in the side as he showed perfect composure in the last two games against Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Although he failed to hit the winning runs against Afghanistan and the game ended in a tie and failed to take it to the end in the final as well, his knocks of 25 and 23 were vital in both the matches. His inclusion has been a vital one for the Indian side and after this performance in the Asia Cup, he will now be kept in the scheme of things for the 2019 World Cup. 

Liton Das

With Tamim Iqbal being ruled out from the tournament after their first game, Bangladesh struggled with their opening combination and tried as many as four opening pairs, but none rendered successful. However, Liton Das stepped up to prove his credentials in the final by hitting a century against India in the final game. Bangladesh had a solid start in the final only because of Liton’s knock of 121 off 117 balls. It was a complete contrast to what his career has been so far - anything but glorious. Ahead of the India match, he averaged a minuscule 14, but his century was a show of the character. Liton ensured that despite Tamim's absence, Bangladesh was off to a flyer in the summit clash. His wicket-keeping skills were tested in the penultimate game against Pakistan which was a virtual semi-final and Liton effected two stumpings in that match and that too of set batsmen like Imam Ul Haq and Asif Ali who were batting on 83 and 31 respectively. Can he build on his? Well, time will tell.

Ambati Rayudu

India’s number four conundrum is well known to everyone considering the management’s difficulties in choosing a proper batsman who can bat at the fourth position in ODIs. But Ambati Rayudu has managed to solve the tough question of the team management with a few good knocks in the tournament and him clearing the Yo-Yo Test is just what the Indian team management needed at this time. Rayudu’s batting performance in the tournament has almost shut the doors for others in the line like Dinesh Karthik and Manish Pandey once Virat Kohli makes a comeback. Rayudu ended the tournament with 175 runs under his belt which includes a couple of fifties as well. Although the Hyderabad batsman played at number three but with skipper Virat Kohli coming back into the team, Rayudu will drop down a place and bat at number four in ODIs for India. Potential solution? Oh, Maybe.

Losers

Mohammad Amir

Pakistani pacer Mohammad Amir has certainly been a loser in the recently-concluded Asia Cup where the Men in Green didn’t make it to the final and also lost to their arch-rivals India on both the occasions in the tournament. Ever since his return to international cricket after the spot-fixing saga, Amir hasn’t been the same bowler that he used to be before. Amir lacked consistency and rhythm in his bowling and ended the tournament without much success. He remained wicketless in the entire tourney and didn’t ask any questions to the opposition batsmen from other Asian countries on slow and dry wickets of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. He played Pakistan’s first three games against Hong Kong and India and ended with figures of 0/20, 0/23 and o/41 in those matches. Owing to his poor show against the Indians, the left-arm pacer was dropped from the side for the next matches of the tournament with Junaid Khan replacing him in the playing XI. Amir was not considered for the Test series against Australia as well and he is now going to play for the Sui Southern Gas Corporation (SSGC) side in Pakistan’s domestic cricket tournament to find his mojo back.

Afghanistan cricket team

It is really hard to term Afghanistan as a loser if we talk about their Asia Cup campaign. But considering their spin attack comprising Rashid Khan and Mujib Ur Rahman along with all-rounder Mohammad Nabi, they were expected to perform much better in the six-nation tournament but that didn’t happen. Somewhere down the line, the Afghans lacked proper temperament in finishing things off and that’s why we have termed them as losers in Asia Cup. As per the expectations of the cricket pundits, the Afghans were favourites to go into the Super fours and they didn’t disappoint them with their 91-run and 146-run wins over Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. But, when it came to the big games in the super four against Pakistan and Bangladesh where they had moments to grab to make it to the finals, they messed it up completely. Once while defending the total against Pakistan and then by failing to chase down against Bangladesh. The Afghans were at the doorstep of upsetting the big boys from India and they messed it up again in the last game which ended up in a tie. Aftab Alam gave away 10 runs in the final over against Pakistan and in the very next game, they failed to score eight runs in the final over of Mustafizur Rahman. Afghanistan has developed a lot and has come a long way in international cricket. But now it’s time for them to know more about winning moments and holding their nerves in close encounters. 

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka had a terrible campaign in the UAE and lost both of its games in the group stage to return home without even making it to the Super four. The Islanders were completely outplayed by Bangladesh and Afghanistan in their group stage games. To make it further worse the Lankan board sacked skipper Angelo Mathews after their exit from the Asia Cup. Things took an ugly turn when Mathews replied that he is being made the scapegoat in the entire incident. Once considered an Asian powerhouse, Sri Lanka’s dismal performance is a proof of where cricket is going in the island country. Bangladesh is ahead of the Lankans, who are ranked eighth, by one position in the ICC rankings while the Windies is placed a couple of places below. Sri Lanka lost to Bangladesh by 137 runs and against the Afghans, they fell short by 91 runs. They failed to chase down the targets of 262 and 250 respectively in the two group stage games against Bangladesh and Afghanistan respectively. For the betterment of cricket as a whole, we all need Sri Lanka to fire on all cyllinders once again. The current mess up doesn't help anymore.

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