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Asia Cup 2022: Key Players To Watch Out for in India vs Sri Lanka Clash

Asia Cup 2022: India face Sri Lanka in a must-win game, having lost their Super 4 opener against Pakistan earlier.

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India and Sri Lanka will face each other for the first time in the Super 4 round of the Asia Cup 2022 on Tuesday. Both sides will take the field at the Dubai International Stadium to feature in their second Super 4 match of the tournament.

Though India started the Asia Cup 2022 campaign well, with wins against Pakistan and Hong Kong respectively in the group stage, they are now in a precarious position.

The men in blue lost to archrivals Pakistan in the first match of the Super 4, meaning the game against Sri Lanka is a must-win encounter for the Rohit Sharma-led side if they wish to book their place in the finals.

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The Lankans, on the other hand, started the tournament poorly after losing to Afghanistan but have since then recorded two wins. They won a crucial tie against Bangladesh in the final group match and defeated Afghanistan in the first game of the Super 4 stage.

Following back-to-back wins, Sri Lanka will be a confident bunch and will be keen to continue their winning streak when they lock horns with India. Meanwhile, India cannot afford to lose this game as they would then have to rely upon results from other matches to keep their hopes of a final berth alive.

On paper, India looks the stronger of the two, with the right blend of youth and experience in their squad. But Sri Lankans are no pushover unit. They gave a glimpse of their strength chasing down competitive totals against Bangladesh (184) and Afghanistan (176) in their last two games.

That said, let's take a look at some key players to watch out for in the clash between the two neighbouring countries.

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Asia Cup 2022: India face Sri Lanka in a must-win game, having lost their Super 4 opener against Pakistan earlier.

Virat Kohli has been in good form in the Asia Cup 2022. 

(Photo: PTI)

Virat's Return to Form

The star cricketer has arguably been India's best batter in the Asia Cup so far. In fact, he is the second-highest run-scorer in the tournament with 154 runs from three matches behind Pakistan's Mohammad Rizwan (192 runs).

The former India captain scored two consecutive half-centuries, finally putting an end to criticisms regarding his worth within India's T20 setup.

Though his 126.22 strike rate in the tournament still feels a little low for the shortest format, the circumstances under which he batted need to be taken into consideration. Against Sri Lanka, India would be hopeful that the 33-year-old continues his good form.

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Asia Cup 2022: India face Sri Lanka in a must-win game, having lost their Super 4 opener against Pakistan earlier.

India's Rohit Sharma plays a sweep shot against Hong Kong in the Asia Cup. 

(Photo: PTI)

Rohit in Fine Touch

Rohit Sharma has been far from his best recently but that cannot take away the fact that he still is one of the best white ball cricketers in the world. Being the leading run-scorer in T20Is with 3,548 runs, Rohit is just shy of that one big knock that could see him make a return to form.

Sticking to his team's new attacking approach, Rohit alongside opening partner KL Rahul took India past the 50-run mark in just five overs against Pakistan before losing his wicket.

The 'Hitman' appeared to be in fine touch as he middled the ball with perfection, scoring a brisk 28 off 16 balls at an impressive strike rate of 175. However, Rohit has failed to convert his good starts into big scores and would be keen to deliver against the Lankans.

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Asia Cup 2022: India face Sri Lanka in a must-win game, having lost their Super 4 opener against Pakistan earlier.

India's Bhuvneshwar Kumar (third right) celebrates a wicket with teammates during Asia Cup. 

(Photo: PTI)

Bhuvneshwar To Spearhead Attack

In the absence of Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has spearheaded the Indian pace attack and has done so with aplomb except in the last game against Pakistan.

The senior pacer had a rather off-day against the men in green, conceding 40 runs and taking just one wicket. However, he tops the bowler's charts for India with six wickets from three games. The 32-year-old is the joint second highest wicket-taker in the tournament alongside Pakistan spinner Shadab Khan.

Bhuvneshwar is experienced enough to be aware that the game against Pakistan was just an aberration and would be looking to get back to his best when India meets Sri Lanka.

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Asia Cup 2022: India face Sri Lanka in a must-win game, having lost their Super 4 opener against Pakistan earlier.

All-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga is a key player in the Sri Lankan T20 side. 

(Photo: Twitter/Wanindu Hasaranga)

Wanindu Hasaranga: Lanka's X-factor Player

Having been the leading wicket-taker (16) in the T20 World Cup last year in UAE and Oman, Sri Lanka's Wanindu Hasaranga has not yet repeated his eye-catching displays in the ongoing Asia Cup.

However, he is still Lanka's best bowler in the tournament alongside teammate Dilshan Madushanka, with three wickets under his belt. The wily leg-spinner with his bag of tricks and variations has also managed to control the flow of runs. This is evident from his economy of 7.54 from three games.

It is true that Hasaranga has not bloomed to his full potential, but the 25-year-old all-rounder remains a potent threat having faced the likes of Indian batters in the same venue for his IPL outfit Royal Challengers Bangalore back in 2021.

Hasaranga can also chip in with the bat as a finisher as he did in the game against Afghanistan, scoring 16 off nine balls to take them home.

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Asia Cup 2022: India face Sri Lanka in a must-win game, having lost their Super 4 opener against Pakistan earlier.

Sri Lanka's Bhanuka Rajapaksa is known for his power-hitting. 

(Photo: Twitter/Bhanuka Rajapaksa)

Hard-Hitter Bhanuka Can Be a Game Changer

Hard-hitter Bhanuka Rajapaksa may not have the numbers behind him, having made just 71 runs out of three matches in the Asia Cup. Nevertheless, he is Lanka's highest scorer in the tournament so far.

Despite not having mouth-watering stats under his kitty, Rajapaksa was key to Sri Lanka's successful chase in the last match against Afghanistan. He scored a quick-fire 31 off just 14 balls at a strike rate of 221.43 to take his side close to the target before being dismissed in the penultimate over.

A veteran of just 24 T20Is, Rajapaksa's recent displays won him an IPL contract in 2022 with Punjab Kings. He played nine matches for Punjab, scoring 206 runs at a strike rate of 159.69.

A big hitter, India would be wary of the left-handed batter’s potential, as he is capable of changing the course of a game in a short span of time.

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