#2 Middle Order
Shoaib Malik (Pakistan)
Shoaib Malik, the most experienced batsman in the Pakistani line up, played an anchor’s role in the unsettled middle order. He was the reason behind Pakistan’s win in the close contest against Afghanistan as he showcased his vast experience, keeping his calm till the last over and took his team across the line. The 36-year-old played calculative knocks in a bid to stabilise the innings, but could not solicit contributions from other batsmen. Malik also played his part in holding the ends together in the two games against India after the top order failed to score.
Mushfiqur Rahim (Bangladesh)
Mushfiqur Rahim was the mainstay of the Bangladeshi batting line up in the absence of pillars like Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan. He batted with a proactive approach and provided stability to the innings on numerous occasions, after coming in at precarious situations. Rahim was at his sublime best apart from the two games against India.
He provided a blistering start to the tournament by amassing a personal best and the second highest score in the Asia Cup (144). He was also instrumental in setting up a summit clash against India with his calculative knock of 99 against Pakistan in the virtual semi-final. Rahim struggled with his fitness throughout the tournament, as a result of which I have not selected him as the team's wicketkeeper.
Hashmatullah Shahidi (Afghanistan)
Shahidi was undoubtedly the best Afghan batsman in the Asia Cup. The southpaw steered his team out of precarious situations numerous times and gelled extremely well with the lower middle order to give a good finish to the innings. His valuable knocks in the group stage enabled Afghanistan to oust Sri Lanka and pip Bangladesh to top Group B. Shahidi played a sensational knock of 97* against Pakistan in the midst of adversities and almost took his team to victory.Published 29 Sep 2018, 02:02 IST