India captain Virat Kohli has lamented a spell of pedestrian cricket inside 45 minutes that helped end their Cricket World Cup campaign against New Zealand in Manchester.
A Sunday blockbuster is coming our way from England. It’s the mother of all battles in this year’s Cricket World Cup. India will take on Pakistan at Old Trafford on Sunday night (AEST).
India holds a psychological edge when they take on the unpredictable Pakistan on Sunday. The scoreline when India takes on Pakistan in the World Cup is 11-0.
Pakistan is the most unpredictable side of this tournament. They were bundled out for a paltry score of 105 in their first game against the West Indies, but they came back strongly against the hosts, England, in their next game. The Shaheens scored 349 and won that close game against the heavy favourites.
Against Australia, there were some crucial moments Pakistan missed to grab it, allowing the Aussies to win after they were beaten heavily by India.
Pakistan’s batting form is a bit worrying ahead of this clash. Their openers, Fakhar Zaman and Imam-Ul-Haq, need to put a good show on Sunday.
Zaman played well against India in the Champions Trophy final. His century took the game away from India. But before that, he was caught on a no-ball by MS Dhoni off Jasprit Bumrah’s bowling.
His solid hundred gave Pakistan their first Champions Trophy title.
Zaman’s partner, Ul-Haq is also a quality batsmen at the top of the order. He played well in the recent ODI series against England and is coming off a fresh score of 53 against the Aussies.
Pakistan will depend on those two for a good start. Then, the Falcons have a good middle order. Players like Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed will have to deliver.
These players need to strike it big. Against Australia they got starts but didn’t convert them – that was the reason the Aussies won.
They can’t repeat the same mistakes against India, especially in a World Cup match. It was Wahab Riaz who showed his batting skills and drove the match closer for Pakistan, otherwise it was a disappointing match for them.
Their batsmen need to play big innings just like Hafeez played against England – the only match which Pakistan has won in this tournament so far.
Pakistan’s bowlers will be a threat especially because of the English conditions. Watch out for Mohammad Amir; he has a five-wicket haul already in this World Cup and will be roaring to go against Virat Kohli and his men.
Wahab Riaz is another experienced pacer from Pakistan who can trouble India. He too has bowled well so far in this event.
But Pakistan will miss a quality spinner. They need someone like Shadab Khan to bowl ten overs for them but, for now, the spin department is handled by the senior pros Hafeez and Malik.
Their overs will also be critical in the context of the game. Hafeez is a partnership breaker and against England he bowled well.
India, on the other hand, has a game on their hands. After the game against New Zealand was washed out, Kohli and his men face a tough task.
Facing Pakistani pacers on a swinging pitch will test India’s batting power. They did well against South Africa and Australia, but facing Pakistani pacers will be a task for men in blue.
The Pakistani pacers will attack India from the word go. The Indian batsmen will have to apply themselves just like they did earlier in this tournament.
Shikhar Dhawan will be missed. He was the man in form for India with the bat, but his finger will keep him out for at least three weeks.
KL Rahul will be seen in a new role – replacing the injured Dhawan at the opening position – after doing a decent job in the middle order.
Rohit Sharma will still be a key player. He will have to take additional responsibility at that opening position. He and Rahul are expected to give the start that India needs.
But the number four dilemma continues to haunt India. The injury to Dhawan has raised the old question again.
India has to chose between Vijay Shankar and Dinesh Karthik. Shankar is an all-rounder who can bowl some overs, but his form with the bat is a worry. The team can’t take a chance in a World Cup game.
Karthik is the right choice because he provides that stability in the batting order and is much more experienced than Shankar.
Hardik Pandya will be key as well. Alongside skipper Kohli and ex-captain MS Dhoni, Pandya will play a crucial role as he played in the game against Australia.
India will need his hard-hitting services to put Pakistan on the back foot – he is the third seamer for India in the bowling department. His ten overs will be crucial. He failed to pick up any wickets against Australia, but his explosive batting made that up.
Kohli and Amir will be roaring to go for their respective teams. This will an epic battle between these gentlemen of cricket. Kohli is India’s key batsmen and Amir is Pakistan’s best bowler. This battle will be an interesting one.
Dhoni has played some decent knocks. He is still the best when it comes to batting and behind the stumps, his inputs are still the best for the bowlers.
In his last World Cup, Dhoni is the player to watch out for.
India’s great bowling has done a marvelous job until now. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal have given their best so far, but their job is not over yet. They need to put up another great performance on Sunday against Pakistan.
Kuldeep Yadav will be the bowler to watch out for. He went wicketless against Australia in the last game but will make strong comeback here.
It will hard for the Pakistani batsmen to pick him, even though Kuldeep’s action will be watched through with the help of technology.
India XI (probable)
KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Vijay Shankar/Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah.
Pakistan XI (probable)
Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Babar Azam, Imam-ul-Haq, Asif Ali/Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi.