The chance of making the final gone, India will look to end their rather disappointing Asia Cup 2014 campaign on a high when they take on Afghanistan in Mirpur.
[Read the report HERE]
With Shahid Afridi smashing the ball left, right and centre to help defending champions Pakistan into the final courtesy thrilling victories over India and Bangladesh, Virat Kohli and co. have been given their just desserts following two poor performances against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
The batting hasn't stepped up enough - nobody other than Kohli, against Bangladesh in the opener, has scored a century -- and there hasn't been a did-you-see-that Afridi-like innings coming forth either.
The bowling has been, as always inconsistent, even if there was encouragement in that department in both the losses.
India has been trumpeted as a great fielding side, but catches, crucial ones, have gone down, while Dinesh Karthik, looking to fill the MS Dhoni-sized hole, has time and again shown his inadequacies with the gloves.
"We are making mistakes regularly, which we need to correct because they are costing us in international cricket," Kohli said after the last-over defeat to Pakistan on Sunday. "If we make three or four crucial errors in each game, it's quite costly in the end.
"That is one thing we have to learn from and improve on because there's quite a bit of inexperience in batting and bowling. People learn from mistakes and I hope in the coming games we don't repeat these mistakes and play more smartly at crucial times."
India will, of course, start as the heavy favourites, even if Afghanistan have showed in this Asia Cup they can cut it against the best. The men in blue, however, will need to be wary about Afghanistan's bowling, which has time and again impressed.
The batting has been the department which has let Afghanistan down, barring in that win against Bangladesh, and if the Associate side can come up trumps with the willow as well, India could be in for a tricky evening.
"In this tournament, if you see, our bowling has done a lot better than other's bowling," Afghanistan coach Kabir Khan said. "When Sri Lanka is playing against India or Pakistan, each of the Test teams when they are playing each other, the minimum score is 270-plus, and our team is restricting each and every team below 255 or 250 and that sort of total.
"That shows that the bowling is doing really well, and the fielding is helping a bit. It's the batting that we want to develop more, and it will come only with experience and playing more 50-over games."
India have looked quite vulnerable batting first and having to defend a total, with both of their losses coming in that manner, while the only win came while they chased down a total. But then, Afghanistan have looked their best when batting first, and then asking their quite efficient bowlers to defend the target; so it will be interesting to see how the toss goes.
Asia Cup 2014: India vs Afghanistan Live TV information (Match starts 2 pm local time, 1.30 pm IST, 8 am GMT, 3 am ET)
|India||Star Sports 1,Star Sports 3 and
Star Sports HD1
|Canada||CBN andATN Cricket Plus|
|United Kingdom||Star Life OK|
|Bangladesh||Channel 9 andStar Life OK|
|Sri Lanka||MTV Sports|
Asia Cup 2014: India vs Afghanistan Live Streaming information (Match starts 2 pm local time, 1.30 pm IST, 8 am GMT, 3 am ET)
Team news: India: Cheteshwar Pujara and Ishwar Pandey have remained on the sidelines for the entire tournament so far, so the team management might consider giving the two players a go, even if India have been reluctant of late to change the team too much, irrespective of the situation. Amit Mishra was brilliant against Pakistan and is certain to play again, while Stuart Binny will be hoping to get one more opportunity.
Afghanistan: Hamid Hassan is expected to come back into the lineup, if passed fit, in place of Dawlat Zadran, while Rahmat Shah is also a possible inclusion.
Expected lineups: India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Amit Mishra, Ishwar Pandey.
Afghanistan: Mohammad Shahzad, Noor Ali Zadran, Asghar Stanikzai, Nawroz Mangal, Mohammad Nabi (capt), Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shenwari, Mirwais Ashraf, Rahmat Shah, Hamid Hassan, Shapoor Zadran.