India aim to dethrone Sri Lanka in Asia Cup final

July 6th, 2008 - 11:37 am ICT by ANI  

Karachi , July 6 (ANI): Defending champions Sri Lanka and a rampaging India will clash in the Asia Cup final on Sunday, with both sides promising to provide spectators with an explosive encounter on a batting paradise at the National Stadium here.

The Indians, who warmed up for the final with a Super Four win over Sri Lanka on Thursday night, are looking forward to dethroning the title-holders but their captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni said on Saturday that it is going to be an uphill task.

Dhoni praised Sri Lanka ’s showing in the contest so far but appeared confident that his boys will reign supreme today.

“We will be playing against Sri Lanka who are a very good team, so we expect it to be tough, but we are ready for all kinds of challenges in the final,” said Dhoni.

It would be India ’s second appearance in a final of an ODI tournament within a few weeks as they also featured in the title clash against Pakistan in a triangular tournament in Dhaka last month. Dhoni’s men lost to Pakistan in that game.

“Our openers have given us good starts and if they continue to do so it would keep pressure off the middle order and set the foundation,” he pointed out.

Other batters including Suresh Raina and Dhoni himself have also been in good form making batting India ’s strong point.

In contrast, Sri Lanka ’s potent bowling arsenal has been doing most of the damage against rival teams in the tournament. The Sri Lankans are looking up to their new spinning sensation Ajantha Mendis in a bid to defend their Asia Cup crown.

Sri Lanka rested him in the Super League match against India on Thursday after they had already qualified for the final. “We rested two of our players because it’s about executing your game plan,” Jayawardene said after his team’s training session on Saturday afternoon.

Jayawardene made it clear that he is looking for a team effort rather than individual performances in the final.

“We are not going to put lot of pressure on the guy,” he said referring to Mendis.

“He (Mendis) has done what he is capable of doing, we are just going to give him the freedom to go out there and enjoy his first final playing for his country, that’s how we are going to treat him,” he added.

Teams (from):

Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Kumar Sangakkara, Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Udawatte, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chamara Silva, Chamara Kapugedera, Kaushal Weeraratne, Thilan Thushara, Chaminda Vaas, Dilhara Fernando, Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis, Jehan Mubarak, Nuwan Kulasekera

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Irfan Pathan, Yusuf Pathan, Piyush Chawla, Pragyan Ojha, Manpreet Gony, Rudra Pratap Singh, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar

Umpires: Simon Taufel (AUS), Tony Hill (NZL). TV umpire: Zameer Haider (PAK). Match referee: Alan Hurst (AUS). (ANI)

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