The 14th edition of the Asia Cup is a tremendous success. Despite a crowded schedule, the players performed exceptionally well and got used to the heat conditions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The tournament was an epic challenge to the fitness of the players.
Despite some one-sided contests, there were some close last-over matches in the tournament. The tie between India-Afghanistan and a nail-biting last over final between India-Bangladesh will surely stand in the mind of cricket fans for a long time.
With the tournament now completed, let us look at a lineup of players who failed hugely in the Asia Cup 2018.
#1 Fakhar Zaman (Pakistan)
Before the Asia Cup, Pakistan played a 5-match ODI series against a hapless Zimbabwe. As expected, they blew away the Zimbabwean attack by a comfortable margin of 5-0.
Fakhar Zaman was the wrecker-in-chief in that tournament. He smashed 515 runs from five innings, which includes a double century. Unfortunately, his excellent run of form halted at the biggest stage against formidable opponents.
He ended the Asia Cup with just 56 runs from five innings. He was dismissed for a duck in two of those innings. He reached the double figures only twice in the entire tournament.
#2 Kusal Mendis (Sri Lanka)
Kusal Mendis entered the Asia Cup 2018 with a string of poor performances. He managed only 86 runs in his previous five outings against South Africa. To his dismay, his lean patch continued at this year’s Asia Cup too.
In the opening match, he was dismissed for a golden duck against Bangladesh. In Sri Lanka’s final game against Afghanistan, he was dismissed for a two-ball duck. Overall, he faced only three balls in two matches without a single run.
#3 Sarfraz Ahmed (Pakistan)
In terms of batting, 2018 has been a poor year of Sarfraz in ODIs. In 11 innings, he has scored only 166 runs with a single 50+ score.
Even in this year’s Asia Cup, he failed to bail out his team in critical situations. He was unable to lead his team from the front. Besides, his constant field changing and chirping towards his bowlers failed to motivate his team. He scored only 68 runs from 4 innings with 44 of them coming in a single inning.
#4 Angelo Mathews (Sri Lanka)
To manage his workload and reduce the injury concerns, Mathews had already stopped bowling. He is no longer the all-rounder in the team.
This year’s Asia Cup was a disaster for Mathews and his team, as they were eliminated in the group stage itself. In two games, Mathews scored a mere 38 runs. As a result, the selectors stripped the limited-overs captaincy from Mathews and dropped him for Sri Lanka’s upcoming ODI series against England.
#5 Asif Ali (Pakistan)
Asif Ali is one among the players who emerged from Pakistan Super League (PSL). He had a great PSL 2018 season. His big-hitting style attracted the Pakistan selectors. As a result, he was fast-tracked into the International set up.
He made his ODI debut in the 5-match series against Zimbabwe. In his debut ODI, he scored a quick fire 46 runs from 25 balls with the strike rate of 184. He also registered his maiden 50+ score in that tournament and ended the competition with the strike rate of 180.95.
However, he failed to replicate his explosive performances in the Asia Cup. He mustered only 77 runs from four innings with the strike rate of 91.66. Though he had a chance to prove his worth in the final Super 4 match against Bangladesh, he got dismissed at the crucial stage and handed over the momentum to the opponents.
#6 MS Dhoni (India)
Before the Asia Cup, Dhoni had a poor ODI series against England. He was even booed by the Indian fans in that ODI series. With his finishing skills waning in 2018, plenty much was expected from the former Indian skipper.
In the end, Dhoni failed once again in the Asia Cup. He cracked only 77 runs from four innings with a poor strike rate of 62.09. His growing troubles against spinners and inability to rotate the strike frequently are hurting the Indian team.
His return to the captaincy in the match against Afghanistan is perhaps the only moment to cherish for his fans.
#7 Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh)
Shakib was not fully fit for the tournament as he was nursing a finger injury. However, he played the competition with the help of painkillers. He managed to play four games for Bangladesh in the tournament.
In his four innings, he scored only 49 runs with two ducks. With the ball, he managed to pick seven wickets with four of them coming in a single innings against Afghanistan. Though his returns with the ball were average, his overall performance in the tournament was below par for his own standards.
#8 Dilruwan Perera (Sri Lanka)
Since Akila Dananjaya was unavailable for the opening game against Bangladesh, Dilruwan Perera was selected in the playing XI. He had a very mediocre outing against Bangladesh. He bowled only three overs in that match and conceded 25 runs with a weak economy rate of 8.33. His poor bowling in the middle-overs threw away the momentum generated by Malinga in his opening spell.
#9 Deepak Chahar (India)
Ahead of the finals, India rested five of their key players in their final Super 4 match against Afghanistan. As a result, Chahar made his ODI debut against Afghanistan.
Swinging the new ball is the strength for Chahar. However, he opted for his variations (Knuckleball) in his opening spell itself. Hence, Mohammad Shahzad & co thrashed him. Though he picked up his maiden wicket in the match, he bowled only four overs and conceded 37 runs, which included a beamer. It was a miserable debut for the Indian pacer.
#10 Mohammad Amir (Pakistan)
Heading into the Asia Cup 2018, Mohammad Amir was considered as the ‘leader’ of Pakistan’s bowling attack. Though he had a short wicketless run in ODIs before the Asia Cup, the coach Mickey Arthur had a strong belief on the speedster.
Arthur and Sarfraz’s patience reached its limit in the Asia Cup. After a continuous run of wicketless games, Pakistan finally dropped Amir in the final stages of the tournament. His replacement Junaid Khan impressed everyone with a fiery 4-wicket haul against Bangladesh in the last Super 4 match.
#11 Aizaz Khan (Hong Kong)
Hong Kong surprised everyone by winning the Asia Cup Qualifiers 2018. Aizaz Khan was the superstar in their final match against UAE. He picked up an impressive 5-wicket haul in the final.
However, he failed to replicate his brilliant performances in the main tournament. In two games, he picked up only one wicket and was unable to stamp his mark against the bigger nations.