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Asia Cup Report Card: India's Bowling Excellent, Top Order Very Good, Middle Order Average

Hardik Worah |September 29, 2018, 4:10 PM IST
Asia Cup Report Card: India's Bowling Excellent, Top Order Very Good, Middle Order Average

There were ups and downs in a couple of encounters, including the final, but that didn't stop India from bagging the Asia Cup trophy for a record seventh time. The Rohit Sharma-led side received a tremendous fight from Bangladesh in the final on Friday but the Men in Blue held their nerves to seal a three-wicket victory in the match that went down to the last delivery.

India looked a bit rusty against Hong Kong in their opening game but showcased their supremacy against Pakistan (twice) and Bangladesh. They were then involved in a thrilling tie against Afghanistan in their last Super Four clash before somehow surviving against Bangladesh in the title match. The top-order was again amongst runs while the bowling unit remained consistent throughout the tournament.

Let us look at how Rohit and his men faired out in the event as we try to rate their performance individually:

Rohit Sharma - Rating: 9, Verdict: Very Good

Everyone was well aware of Rohit's resume when he was named the stand-in skipper in the absence of Virat Kohli. The 31-year-old earned a lot of accolades for his astute captainship and led his team from the front smashing 317 runs in five games at an average of 105.66. Not once in the competition he fell without contributing to the team's cause. He has often struggled against left-arm pacers, but this time around, he looked quite comfortable against the likes of Mohammad Amir, Usman Khan, Shaheen Afridi and Mustafizur Rahman. He scored 52 and 111* in the two games against Pakistan, apart from his unbeaten 83 and 48 against Bangladesh in the Super Four and final respectively. He, along with his partner-in-crime Shikhar Dhawan, provided India solid starts in almost every encounter.

Shikhar Dhawan - Rating: 8.5, Verdict: Very Good

Dhawan managed to put behind his struggles in the Test series against England and emerged as tournament's highest run-getter. Dhawan is known to score big in major events and this was no different. The flamboyant left-hander amassed 342 runs in five matches, including two centuries, at 68.40. He scored centuries against Hong Kong and Pakistan and also made a couple of 40s. When the ball is not moving, Dhawan looks a completely different batsman. Apart from those flashy drives, muscular pulls and efficacious flicks, Dhawan also ran brilliantly between the wickets. Yes, there are doubts over his future in Test cricket but there's no stopping Dhawan in white-ball cricket.

 (Image: AP)

Ambati Rayudu - Rating: 6.5, Verdict: Good

While Rohit and Dhawan did most of the scoring, Rayudu pounced on whatever was left to gather. Coming in at No. 3, the 33-year-old didn't set the stage on fire but gave India that much-required stability. The 33-year-old ended the tournament with 175 runs at 43.75. He scored two fifties but couldn't convert it into big scores. Once Kohli comes back, Rayudu will have to give up on the No. 3 spot and move down the order. What will work against him is his career strike rate of 76.82. India already have MS Dhoni who can play a sort of similar role but if the team management sticks with the plan of playing Dhoni at No. 5, Rayudu is someone who can fit into that No. 4 spot.

Dinesh Karthik - Rating: 6, Verdict: Average

The Tamil Nadu batsman looked good in patches, scoring 146 runs in five innings at 48.66. He looked in decent touch throughout the event but failed to finish games, although he was unlucky to receive a harsh lbw call in the tie against Afghanistan. He had scores of 33, 31*, 1* 44 and 37 but would have liked to convert it into something more substantial. The World Cup is hardly eight months away and with the likes of Manish Pandey, KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer waiting in the wings, it's important that Karthik get big runs if he wants to keep his place in the Indian team.

(AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

MS Dhoni - Rating: 6, Verdict: Average

An average of 19.25 in the event doesn't completely reflect what Dhoni brought to the table. He was superb behind the stumps with his glovework and also helped Rohit with captaincy and field placements. He kept on throwing suggestions to the bowlers, and with him being around, there were no DRS blunders. There's a reason they call it Dhoni Review System, right? However, India will need Dhoni to contribute more with the bat and take the other middle-order batsmen along with him.

Kedar Jadhav - Rating: 7.5, Verdict: Very Good

India missed the services of Jadhav in England. More than his batting, it's Jadhav's low-arm slingy off-breaks that helped India. The innocuous off-spinner provides India that important sixth bowling option. For a part-time spinner to end the event with a tally of six wickets at an economy rate of 3.97 shows why the team management wants Jadhav to be fit and playing. His 3 for 23 and 2 for 41 against Pakistan and Bangladesh (in the final) respectively helped India create added pressure. Jadhav hardly got any chance to bat, but when he did in the final, he hit an unbeaten 23 to help India survive an upset in the final. If he managed to keep himself fit, Jadhav will most probably find himself in the flight to England next year.

 (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

Ravindra Jadeja - Rating: 7, Verdict: Good

The 29-year-old all-rounder showed everyone why he should at least be a part of India's ODI squad. Brought in as Hardik Pandya's replacement after the second match, Jadeja straightaway made an impact by picking up a four-wicket haul against Bangladesh. The left-arm spinner scalped seven wickets in total and also chipped in with a couple of handy cameos at No. 7. He is pure gold on the field and his run out of Mohammad Mithun last night is a proof of it. India won't play three spinners in England but if needed Jadeja can be the man who can chip in all three facets of the game.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar - Rating: 7, Verdict: Good

Returning from a back injury, Bhuvneshwar looked a bit rusty against Hong Kong but started to get into the groove as the tournament went along. The right-arm seamer picked up six wickets at 29.33, with his 3 for 15 against Pakistan being his best performance. Apart from that 22-run over against Pakistan, Bhuvneshwar also did a commendable job in death overs. In the final, it was his 21-run knock that took India closer to the target before Jadhav put the finishing touch.

Kuldeep Yadav - Rating: 8, Verdict: Very Good

The left-arm wrist-spinner was always going to be a force to be reckoned with on the tracks of UAE and Kuldeep did no harm to his reputation. The 23-year-old took 10 wickets in the event to emerge as one of the tournament's highest wicket-takers, along with Rashid Khan and Mustafizur. In the matches against Hong Kong and Bangladesh where the openers got off to good starts, it was Kuldeep who put the breaks on and brought India back on track. He played a key role in all the three encounters.

Yuzvendra Chahal - Rating: 6.5, Verdict: Good

Chahal wasn't always amongst wickets but he did bowl some tough overs. Chahal bowled in the Power Play 1 as well as in the death overs. His best performance of 3 for 46 came against Hong Kong after they had got off to a solid start. Both Chahal and Kuldeep will be important to India's cause in the 2019 World Cup.


Jasprit Bumrah - Rating: 8.5, Verdict: Very Good

If there's one man apart from Virat Kohli who has the tag of India's all-format player, it's Bumrah. The 24-year-old has arguably been India's best bowler in the limited-overs format in the last two years. In this competition, Bumrah provided India early breakthroughs and was fantastic in the death overs.

Here's a fact that will tell you how good Bumrah was in the final overs: The right-arm pacer didn't get hit for a single boundary in the 59 balls he bowled in the death overs at the Asia Cup.

Khaleel Ahmed - Rating: 7, Verdict: Good

Indian team management has been pretty vocal about the requirement of a left-arm pacer in the ODI setup. They gave Khaleel a chance and in the two games that he played, the 20-year-old looked impressive. He took four wickets, including a three-wicket haul against Hong Kong. He still has a long way to go but Khaleel has done more than a decent job to keep his place in the side for the home series against Windies next month.

*The likes of KL Rahul, Deepak Chahar, Siddarth Kaul and Manish Pandey only featured in one match and that was a dead-rubber against Afghanistan. While Chahar, Kaul and Pandey failed in that match, Rahul scored a stylish 66-ball 60 keep himself in the contention. Meanwhile, Shardul Thakur and Pandya suffered injuries and had to return to India after playing just one match

*Rating chart: Very poor 0-1, Poor 2-4, Average 5-6, Good 7, Very good 8-9, Excellent 10.

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2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3778 105
5 Australia 2640 98
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1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
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1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 India 8099 261
5 Australia 5471 261
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