Asia Cup Final Preview

Previously, Sri Lanka and India have met five times in the Asia Cup Final like this year, with India taking a 3-2 advantage over their opponents. Both sides finished on six points after their ‘Super Four’ matches as they outplayed Pakistan and Bangladesh in most games. Interestingly, Sri Lanka have only won the Asia Cup playing in their own back yard, so this will be something that they will be looking to change come the final at Karachi. Their only match during this year’s Asia Cup saw India chase down Sri Lanka’s 308 with ease as they claimed a six wicket victory with more than three overs to spare. Mahendra Singh Dhoni has led his troops well, as India continue to become one of the strongest forces to be reckoned with in cricket. They seem to have a tremendous blend of talent throughout the side where all are definitely worthy of their place in the starting line-up. With so many options for India, they do look a good bet to chase down any score. They especially have huge potential with the bat, where all the batsman could switch around positions in the top seven and still be comfortable. Suresh Raina has finally come of age and is showing what he can do during this tournament with two centuries and two fifties in five innings, making him the leading run scorer thus far in the tournament. Sri Lanka are likewise looking strong. Kumar Sangakkara has been in prolific form, hitting three centuries in five matches. With the ball, spin twins Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis have been leading the way with 10 and 11 wickets respectively, making them the leading wicket takers on these spinner friendly pitches. They way Muralitharan and Mendis bowl during the middle overs against the Indians talented batting line-up will be key as they will look to stem the run rate and apply pressure to Dhoni’s men. This promises to be a tough contest as both sides are looking to claim the trophy over their sub-continent rivals. For me, India just boasts a stronger all-round side with such depth in batting and talented bowling line up. A lot will rest on the batting of old heads, Sanath Jayasuriya and Sangakkara, along with their two spinners. Pierce Morley-Barnes © Cricket World 2008