Arch-rivals Pakistan and India will come head to head in the hotly-anticipated clash of Asia Cup in Mirpur on Sunday.
Both Pakistan and India have won one game apiece, and have each lost one after which the Sunday’s meeting has become a virtual semi-final for them. Pakistan are sitting at second position in points table with 5 points behind table-toppers Sri Lanka (8 points), India are placed third with 4 points.
Pakistan began their title defence campaign with a heart-stopping 12-run loss to Sri Lanka before thumping Afghanistan by 72 runs in their second game to earn a bounce-point victory. India downed hosts Bangladesh by six wickets in their tournament opener before losing to Sri Lanka by two wickets in a nerve-racking contest.
|What: Pakistan vs India ODI||Series: Asia Cup|
|When: March 2, 2014||Venue: Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur|
|Time: 14:00 local | 08:00 GMT | 13:00 PST||Live Streaming: ESPN 3|
Since India’s famous 2011 World Cup victory in semi-final in Mohali, the arch-rivals have met each other in five one-dayers only as the cricketing ties between the bordering nations have been repetitively strained by the political issues.
Though, whenever it comes to high-voltage Indo-Pak clashes, history doesn’t have much impact, but for record it is worth mentioning that India defeated Pakistan in their previous meeting in ICC Champions Trophy in England last year. India also holds an edge over Pakistan in the head-to-head record in Asia Cup games, with win-loss tally of 5-4. India rode on Virat Kohli’s 183 off 148 deliveries to overhaul a competitive target of 330 in their last Asia Cup game against Pakistan in Mirpur in 2012.
The first five games of the ongoing Asia Cup held at Fatullah, but the remainder of the continental competition will be played at Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.
Kohli proved himself to be the mainstay of Indian batting-line with his 19th ODI century against Bangladesh and a crucial 68 against Sri Lanka. Shikhar Dhawan rediscovered his form with a magnificent 94 off 114 deliveries. Underperforming Rohit Sharma, however, failed to end his run-dearth but is yet expected to retain his opening position in the Pakistan clash. Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane will bat at No 3 and No 4 respectively. Ambati Rayudu failed to make impact in the Sri Lanka game and he could be replaced by more consistent Cheteshwar Pujara.
The inability of Indian bowlers to prohibit the rival batsmen from clobbering runs in death overs has been consistently haunting the team. Bhuvneshwar Singh has failed to prove his authority as a strike bowler, having managed only one wicket in two games. Paceman Mohammad Shami was extremely expensive in the Sri Lanka game as he leaked 81 runs in 10 overs. Ravindra Jadeja managed three wickets in the second game but Ravichandran Ashwin couldn’t really thwart the rival batsmen in both games. India could include Varun Aaron at the expense of Stuart Binny to strengthen the pace department.
On the other hand, Pakistan will be aiming to capitalize absence of MS Dhoni, who was ruled out of the competition after sustaining side strain and India’s abject surrender in the tours of South Africa and New Zealand to knock them off their strides.
Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq will be anxious about Pakistan’s inconsistent batting line, however, the matter of pleasure for him is that that Umar Akmal has rediscovered his form. The explosive batsman hit a brisk 74 against Sri Lanka followed by 102 not out against Afghanistan to register his first-three figure knock in nearly four years. Ahmed Shehzad hit a fifty in the first game but Sharjeel Khan has faield to make his mark in the competition so far. Chances are higher that Shahid Afridi will be elevated at the top of the batting order.
Fast bowler Umar Gul has struggled to bowl with his hallmark pace since returning to the national set-up in December last year after nine-month recovery from foot injury. Junaid Khan was pretty expensive in the Sri Lanka game but he delivered six economical overs against in second game and he would be a threat for the Indian top-order. Spin duo Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez shared six wickets between them in the Afghanistan game and will be eager to bamboozle the arch-rivals with their mystical variations on Sunday.
Misbah-ul-Haq (Captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi, Sharjeel Khan, Umar Akmal, Sohaib Maqsood, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Fawad Alam, Umar Gul, Anwar Ali, Bilawal Bhatti, Mohammad Talha, Junaid Khan.
India: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Cheteshwar Pujara, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Varun Aaron, Stuart Binny, Amit Mishra, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishwar Pandey.