In Sunday’s Asia Cup final, Rohit Sharma’s India will take on the underdog Sri Lanka in a highly anticipated match that holds significant importance as a momentum-builder leading up to next month’s ODI World Cup.
Both cricketing powerhouses, India and Sri Lanka, boast an impressive total of 13 Asian titles between them. Sri Lanka has a knack for surprising fans by reaching the tournament final, often dashing hopes of a classic showdown between arch-rivals India and Pakistan.
However, India’s unbeaten streak in the 50-over tournament was halted by Bangladesh in the last Super Four match on Friday, where they narrowly lost by six runs while chasing a target of 266 in Colombo. Despite Shubman Gill’s impressive innings of 121, India fell short in their pursuit.
Speaking to reporters after the close defeat, Gill remained optimistic, stating, “I don’t believe it has disrupted our momentum. We’ve played good cricket. Occasionally, such outcomes occur on these pitches. I was well-set and should have seen the game through.”
Gill emphasized that securing India’s eighth Asia Cup title would instill “confidence” in the team as they prepare for the World Cup, scheduled to commence on October 5 in their home country.
India’s campaign in the Asia Cup started with a washed-out match against Pakistan in Pallekele, where their top order struggled against Pakistan’s fast bowlers, and the match was ultimately limited to a single innings due to rain. However, in the subsequent match against Babar Azam’s team, big guns Virat Kohli and the returning batsman KL Rahul hit centuries, propelling India to a commanding total of 356-2 and a resounding victory by 228 runs.
India secured their spot in the final by thwarting a valiant Sri Lankan chase. Despite this, Gill acknowledged that their opponents remained a formidable threat, saying, “We need to raise our game and perform at our absolute best to defeat them.”
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