It’s India v Pakistan and it doesn’t get bigger than this in the game of cricket. The 2 nations don’t play bilateral series anymore. They only take on each other in ICC events or Asia Cup. Due to the rare occurrence of the matches, the excitement level reaches the skies every time the blues and greens are up against each other.
Some say that the absence of Virat Kohli has reduced the competition. But when it’s India v Pakistan, it’s always going to be a high-voltage contest. The Dubai International Stadium will play host to the game on September 19, Wednesday.
The Pakistani team is being termed as the favorites to win the Asia Cup 2018. They play their home matches in the U.A.E. and are aware of the conditions on offer. The Indians without Kohli might seem weaker but the motivation to do well against the arch-rivals is enough to bring out the best out of the players.
Historically, Pakistan has had an edge over the Indians. They have won 73 matches as opposed to India’s 52 in the head to head clashes. But the Indian team has won the 6 out of the last 10 matches. Pakistan had defeated India in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy last year and the Indians will be desperate to make amends.
Both teams look even on paper. Where Pakistan always carry a bunch of talented pacers, India too has excelled in that department. Both the sides have quality leg-spinners as well. Despite Kohli’s absence, India’s batting looks slightly stronger. Hence, the first India v Pakistan encounter of the tournament might go in the former’s side.
Here is our prediction for the India v Pakistan game
Case1: If India bats first
First Innings score prediction: 270-280
Result prediction: India will win the match by 20-30 runs
Case2: If Pakistan bats first
First Innings score prediction: 250-260
Result prediction: India will win the match by 5 wickets
Head to head in ODIs
Total ODIs: 134, India won: 52, Pakistan won: 73, No Result: 9
The skipper Rohit Sharma will be a key factor in the result of the game. He has struggled in the past against Mohammad Amir. But the ball hasn’t swung a great deal in U.A.E. yet and so, he might feel a little better. Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey form a strong line-up. India’s X-factor, however, will be MS Dhoni. He has seen such high-pressure games all his life and the experience will weigh its worth in gold.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar is ever-reliable at any stage of the game. Jasprit Bumarh would want to get over the no-ball horror of the Champions Trophy final last year. The 2 wrist spinners – Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav will play huge roles in the middle-overs. While Hardik Pandya will be under pressure to deliver with the ball as the fifth bowler.
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah
The batsmen weren’t put under a lot of pressure against Hong Kong. Chasing 120 runs, they lost 2 wickets. The batsmen got starts but only Imam-ul-Haq went on to score a half-century. The challenge will be tougher against India. Just like Dhoni holds the key for India, Shoaib Malik will be the most important batsman for Pakistan. Considering his good record against India, he’ll play the anchor role.
The bowlers enjoyed a good time against the Hong Kong line-up. Usman Khan bagged 3 wickets while Hasan Ali got 2. The leg-spinner Shadab Khan also picked 2 wickets. The only disappointment was Mohammad Amir who couldn’t pick up any wickets. He has troubled the Indian batsmen in the past and would be itching to repeat the past.
Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Usman Khan