Building upto the India-Pakistan Super 4 clash in the ongoing Asia Cup 2018 in the United Arab Emirates, former India Captain Sourav Ganguly reiterated that it will be very important for either side to bat well and deep in the challenging conditions that the batsmen have come across in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
In the tournament so far, it has been seen that while Dubai, which grips and goes slow in the day, becomes a good batting strip in the night, Abu Dhabi not only turns in the afternoon but seams under lights too.
Assessing and analyzing it, Sourav feels it is very important to focus on solidifying the innings early on and bat deep keeping wickets in hand while batting first or chasing.
Noting the same in his column for Times of India, Ganguly wrote, "A batting unit that has wickets in hand till the end holds the key to success, which did not happen with Pakistan in the game (against India) before," and added, "A lot of people are saying that the game against Afghanistan showcased Pakistan’s poor form, but don’t underestimate the Afghan spinners and the run-chase in the last over will give them a lot of confidence," but he still gave the mental advantage to India and stressed, "India were superb against Pakistan (in the group match) and outplayed them in all aspects. I believe Rohit Sharma and his team’s performance will continue to have a huge psychological impact,"
In line with this, Ganguly reiterated that with greater overall strength in all departments, India starts off as favorites on Sunday, September 23.
"One-day cricket has changed over the years, but in this tournament, old-fashioned one-day batting is required from all teams. It is not surprising that pitches will turn as the tournament progresses because of cricket being played day-in and day-out on the same surfaces in hot and humid conditions." he wrote, "So it is also not surprising that India has so many spinners in the team and sides equipped with spin will hold the advantage,"
Impressed with his overall performance, Ganguly also dwelled on Indian opener Rohit Sharma, who he feels, has been absolutely brilliant for his side and has performed exceptionally well as a batsman and leader in absence of Virat Kohli.
"Rohit has not only been exceptional with the bat but his captaincy has stood out. He was shaken a bit by Hong Kong, but since then he and his team have lifted themselves," he wrote, "Dhawan has always been brilliant in this format and he continues to do so. His partnership with Rohit has not allowed the batting to come under any pressure."
"The bowling has been outstanding. Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) and (Jasprit) Bumrah are assets to this team in any format, which just goes to show that despite all the debate about the red and white ball, quality prevails. So teams will have to bat really well against India to put them under any pressure," he concluded.