Rejuvenated India ready to regain Asia Cup

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Karachi, Jul 5: With top order firing on all cylinders, a rejuvenated India is all set to go all out to regain the Asia Cup as it takes on the defending Champions Sri Lanka in the title clash here on Sunday, July 6.

While the bowlers have had a tough time in the tournament so far, India would bank heavily on its batsmen especially the in-form openers to once again trounce Sri Lanka. The scores of over 300 runs have been successfully chased in the tournament and both the teams have come under the sledge hammers. However, in the last and the only match played between the two sides in the tournament, India emerged as winners posting a convincing six-wicket win over a depleted Sri Lankan team.

Sri Lanka, in their last match, were without pace spearhead Chaminda Vaas and the leading wickettaker of the tournament Ajantha Mendis. The Indians had a cakewalk as its in-form batsmen sabotaged the Lankan bowling.

But Dhoni and coach Gary Kirsten would not be counting much on its last win and would be intelligent enough to know that it would be hard to not to expect a fired-up Sri Lankan team.

Though it would difficult to predict the winner before the match as both sides look very much balanced, Lankans would still have an edge over their counterparts with the experience of Vaas and Murlitharan which will be backed up by the 'tweaker' Mendis whom India is yet to see.

But Dhoni has always been behind his bowlers and tried to back his bowlers. He said not only his bowlers but every team has been at the reacing end on such flat tracks.

''The spinners are also finding it difficult to get turn in the middle overs. So the batting has to take the responsibility and support the bowlers,'' Dhoni said.

Interestingly, Sri Lanka have a great record in the Asia Cup history. The island nation has been a part of seven finals out of the eight played so far.

Even the Lankans would sound foolish if they say that they have a better line up than the Indians. The current Indian team has proved it in last year or so that on any given day it can bring about the most unexpected victories.

With the hosts Pakistan already out of the tournament, it would be interesting to see that which team does the crowd lend its support to.

India would be in some dilemma whether to go in with five specialist bowlers or with four bowlers, while the Lankans will bring back Vaas and Mendis to make use of their expertise against the famed Indian batting line-up.

Teams India (from) Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma, Irfan Pathan, RP Singh, Piyush Chawla, Praveen Kumar.

Sri Lanka (from) Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Kumar Sangakkara, Sanath Jayasuriya, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chamara Silva, Chamara Kapugedera, Chaminda Vaas, Kaushal Weeraratne, Ajantha Mendis, Muttiah Muralitharan, Nuwan Kulasekara.


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