Asia Cup 2018: Team of the tournament
Throughout the tournament we had stellar performances. While it was expected from some, others managed to pleasantly surprise. Here is Hindustan Times’ team of the tournament.Updated: Sep 29, 2018 08:37 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
It has been another blockbuster Asia Cup. India have dominated the tournament, winning their seventh continental title while Bangladesh also showed their pedigree to reach the final. Pakistan and Afghanistan impressed on occasions and some of the action on the field was a delight to watch.
Throughout the tournament we had stellar performances and some individuals have shown maturity beyond their years. While it was expected from some, others managed to pleasantly surprise. Here is Hindustan Times’ team of the Asia Cup 2018.
Rohit Sharma – Stand-in skipper for India in the series, Rohit led the team incredibly well. Apart from the first match of the tournament where the team struggled slightly against Hong Kong, there was no real pressure thereon. When it came to batting, he looked flawless and scored runs at ease against all opposition. The 31-year-old scored a brilliant century against Pakistan in the Super Four stage of the tournament and a fifty against the same opposition in the group encounter. He played well in the final and scored 48 and was the top-scorer for India in a game that went right down to the wire.
Shikhar Dhawan – After a harrowing time in England, Shikhar Dhawan was back to his best with runs galore in the Asia Cup. He showed his class with a century in India’s very first match against Hong Kong and continued with his fine form scoring runs throughout the tournament. He put Pakistan to the sword in both matches and scored a century in the Super Four match against the ‘Men in Green’. His partnership and chemistry with captain Rohit was a sight for all eyes. In the final he started well, but played a shot which in retrospect he would never have played.
Mushfiqur Rahim – Although he didn’t keep for Bangladesh in the tournament apart from in the final, he gets in the team as wicketkeeper for this team. He was a rock for Bangladesh in the tournament in the absence of Shakib-al-Hasan and Tamim Iqbal at various times. Played a whirlwind innings against Pakistan in what was a virtual semi-final and was unlucky to get out for 99 and his 144 in the first innings in the opening game of the tournament will always be remembered as an Asia Cup classic. He got out to a long hop in the final, but if it wasn’t for him Bangladesh would never have made it that far.
Shoaib Malik – In an inexperienced batting Pakistan line up he brought in a calming influence. He guided the youngsters in close matches and kept his head when the situation could have caused him to lose his cool. His half-century against Afghanistan when the spinners were piling on the pressure took the team past the line. If it wasn’t for him Pakistan could have had a much worse tournament.
Hashmatullah Shahidi – In a brittle Afghanistan batting order, Shahidi shone like no other. He was consistent throughout the Asia Cup and helped his team post more than decent totals every single time. He struck two consecutive fifties in two Super Four matches against Pakistan and Bangladesh and his team was unlucky to lose both matches in the very last over.
Kedar Jadhav – He turned the final on its head with his bowling and throughout the tournament impressed more with his bowling than with the bat, picking up important wickets at regular intervals. His performance in the group stage encounter against Pakistan — picked up three wickets to help restrict opposition to a paltry 162 — will always stay close to his heart. He didn’t have many opportunities with the bat with the top-order in fine form, but did what was required off him. Suffered a hamstring injury batting in the final, but did take India over the line.
Mohammad Nabi – One of the main reasons why Afghanistan left an indelible impression on cricket watchers all over the world. Scored runs with the bat when the team wanted it the most. When it comes to bowling he has been a master. Bowled in difficult situations and not only did he manage to keep the runs down, but also looked threatening.
Ravindra Jadeja – Coming in as a replacement for injured Hardik Pandya, he has staked a claim in India’s world cup squad. He picked up four wickets in his very first ODI match for India in more than 15 months. He is now India’s leading wicket-taker in the Asia Cup, surpassing the great Sachin Tendulkar. His fielding is better than ever and Asia Cup just reinforces that. He played two cameos in India’s last two matches against Afghanistan and Bangladesh to pull the team out of tricky situations.
Rashid Khan – Every time you watch him, he gets more impressive and for a guy who turned 20 during the tournament, his rise has been remarkable. Has added to his repertoire and looks menacing with every single ball he bowls. Has improved his batting as well and struck a brilliant half-century against Bangladesh. Bowled brilliantly throughout the tournament and most teams were willing to play him out rather than take a risk.
Mustafizur Rahman – Best of the Bangladesh pace battery right now. Dealt hammer blows to Pakistan in what was a knockout to determine who makes the final. Took 4/43 in his 10 overs and what’s even more remarkable is that the last over was a maiden despite batsmen swinging all over the place. Took two wickets in the final and almost pulled his team over the line in the final. Opened the bowling and bowled at the death and is fast becoming a complete bowler in limited overs cricket.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar – India missed him greatly on their tour of England, but he returned reinvigorated in the 2018 Asia Cup. Coming back to the team, it didn’t look like he had been away as he looked his usual self bowling with the new as well as the old ball. Gave India the breakthroughs when required and his partnership with Jasprit Bumrah is one of the best in world cricket at present.
First Published: Sep 29, 2018 08:34 IST