India and Sri Lanka lock horns in the 2023 Asia Cup final on Sunday. Sri Lanka reached the final after sealing a thriller against Pakistan in their final Super Fours match. Charith Asalanka was the hero alongside Kusal Mendis as the Lankans chased down 252 in 42 overs per side. Meanwhile, India had reached the final earlier, picking wins versus Pakistan and Sri Lanka, respectively. However, coming into this finale, India went on to be outclassed by Bangladesh. A few players came into the side in what was a mixed-bag return. Shubman Gill’s century went in vain for India. India are seven-time winners of the Asia Cup, whereas Lanka have won the tourney six times. In the ODI version, India have won six honours to Sri Lanka’s five. India are the favorite on paper, and after beating SL earlier, they will be confident of getting the job done once again. Fans would hope for a solid contest between bat and ball, and that’s where the individual match-ups become so crucial. Ahead of a cracking finale, we present the 6 major player battles for this contest.
Dasun Shanaka vs Shubman Gill
Dasun Shanaka will want to stop Shubman Gill from making the inroads. Gill is enjoying the form of his life and comes into this match with solid scores under his belt. Gill, who was dismissed cheaply versus SL in the Super Fours, can be a menace once he settles in. Against SL skipper Shanaka, Gill has scored 25 runs from 25 balls from three innings, being dismissed once. Versus right-arm pacers, Gill has scored 945 runs from 31 innings at a solid 59.06. He has been dismissed 16 times. Shanaka hasn’t been effective in the power play overs, having conceded 154 runs from 162 balls. He has claimed a solitary wicket from 14 innings. In recent times, Shanaka has been the first change, and Gill, if set, can count upon his instincts to go on the charge.
Dunith Wellalage vs Virat Kohli
Young spinner Dunith Wellalage had a dream outing versus India in the Super Fours. He went on to claim a fifer as India lost all their 10 wickets to spin for the first time in ODI history. Wellagale outfoxed Virat Kohli, and the idea will be to get the Indian talisman once again. Across two innings versus Kohli in ODI cricket, the left-arm spinner has conceded 16 runs from 27 balls, dismissing Kohli once. Versus left-arm spinners, Kohli averages a solid 64.86 across 97 innings. He has been out 22 times, scoring 1427 runs from 1586 balls. He has smashed 19 sixes versus left-arm spinners in ODIs. Meanwhile, Dunith averages 24.53 versus right-handed batters, dismissing them on 15 occasions.
Jasprit Bumrah vs Pathum Nissanka
Jasprit Bumrah claimed 2/30 from seven overs in the Asia Cup Super Fours contest against SL. Notably, he dismissed Pathum Nissanka early on. Bumrah has a solid record against left-handed batters in ODI cricket. Across 71 innings, Bumrah has 44 scalps versus left-handed batters, averaging 25.27. Meanwhile, Bumrah has faced Nissanka for just the one time. He conceded six runs from seven balls (one dismissal). SL opener Nissanka has clocked 1394 runs in ODIs at 38.72. Versus right-arm pacers, he averages 42.20, being dismissed on 15 occasions. At the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, he has scored 227 runs.
Mohammed Siraj vs Kusal Perera
Mohammed Siraj will look to rattle Kusal Perera early on. Perera replaced a struggling Dimuth Karunaratne in the match versus Pakistan and scored 17 from eight balls before being run out. Siraj, who will face Perera for the first time, has dismissed left-handed batters in Odis on 16 occasions. He averages 22.81. In the power play overs, Siraj has been excellent with the new ball. He has an average of 18.88, having claimed 27 scalps. Senior player Perera has 139 runs versus India in ODIs at a poor 19.85. Overall, in a 10-year career, Perera has scored 3088 runs at 31.51. Versus right-arm pacers has 1612 runs at 34.29, being dismissed 47 times.
Kuldeep Yadav vs Kusal Mendis
Kusal Mendis remains SL’s best bet against India. Mendis comes into this match with a solid 91 versus Pakistan. He played well and helped his side claim a win. Mendis did not get to face Kuldeep Yadav in the Super Fours contest. But this time, there can be every possibility for a match-up. Mendis has been dismissed once by Kuldeep in the lone outing against the latter. Kuldeep has been in solid form and took a four-for versus SL after a fifer versus Pakistan. Versus left-arm spinners, Mendis owns 451 runs at 50.11 (9 dismissals). Kuldeep has a superb record versus SL in ODIs. He has claimed 18 scalps at just 21.33. His economy rate is 4.67.
Shardul Thakur vs Sadeera Samarawickrama
Shardul Thakur is a wicket-taking asset for India and is likely to be the third pace option ahead of Mohammed Shami. He picked three wickets versus Bangladesh, but it was a tad expensive. In ODI cricket, Shardul has 63 scalps at 28.55, but his ER is on the higher side. He will be pivotal against Sadeera Samarawickrama, who has put in a lot of work and is consistent. Shardul is yet to bowl against Sadeera and will relish the contest if an opportunity arises. Sadeera has 615 runs in Odis at 34.16. Versus right-arm pacer, he owns 256 runs at a decent 42.66. He has been dismissed six times.