Team India delivered a resounding performance to capture their eighth Asia Cup title, decimating the host nation Sri Lanka in a one-sided final in Colombo. The victory was fueled by a superb bowling display led by Mohammed Siraj, who claimed six wickets for just 21 runs, including a remarkable four-wicket over. India’s chase was swift and efficient, reaching the modest target of 50 runs in just 6.1 overs. This triumph sets the stage for India’s preparations for the upcoming ODI series against Australia, serving as a crucial build-up to the ODI World Cup scheduled for later this year.
India’s victory in the Asia Cup final was propelled by the fiery pace of Mohammed Siraj. His exceptional bowling performance, particularly in the second over of the match, saw him dismiss key Sri Lankan batsmen, including Pathum Nissanka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, and Dhananjaya de Silva. Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah also contributed to the demolition, with Pandya claiming three wickets. Sri Lanka’s innings crumbled, resulting in one of their lowest-ever totals in one-day internationals.
Following their convincing victory in the Asia Cup, Team India will return home to prepare for a crucial three-match ODI series against Australia, commencing on September 22. This series assumes added significance as it serves as vital preparation for the upcoming ODI World Cup, scheduled to be hosted in India in October-November. While India welcomed Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul back from injury for the Asia Cup, the team faces concerns with Iyer developing back spasms mid-way through the tournament and Axar Patel sustaining an injury. These issues have prompted the team to reassess their options.
Former Pakistan captain and bowling legend, Wasim Akram, expressed concerns about the timing of the Australia series. He referred to it as “unnecessary” and suggested it could potentially lead to player fatigue. With India’s busy schedule, which included a full-fledged tour of the West Indies and the Asia Cup, Akram highlighted the importance of preserving energy ahead of the World Cup, where India is considered the favorite. Akram questioned the need for three ODIs against Australia and recommended utilizing these matches to test additional squad players.
“There are different venues and traveling in India… it takes a day (between every match). You need to preserve energy before the World Cup. I don’t know why they are playing three ODIs. It was probably done a long time ago, but it was a bit unnecessary. You don’t want to be tired before a mega-tournament where you are favorites at home. If you want some more players in the squad, you can play those in the three ODIs against Australia,” Akram said on Star Sports following India’s win in the Asia Cup final.
Before the commencement of the ODI World Cup, Team India is scheduled to participate in two warm-up matches. They will face England on September 30 and the Netherlands on October 3. The tournament itself begins with a high-profile clash against Australia, scheduled four days later. A particularly anticipated fixture is the India-Pakistan encounter, set to take place at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, promising an electrifying atmosphere and intense competition.