ICC World Cup 2019: Match 22, India vs Pakistan, Preview – Clouds stand in way of the crucial clash but officials remain hopeful
All we can hope for is the unreasonable jingoism to be dead tomorrow and the true flavour of this classic encounter to be reignited with pure cricketing spirit.
Updated - Jan 20, 2020 8:45 pm
Waqar Younis’ deadly bouncer damaging Sachin’s nose, Aamir Sohail getting a dose of his own medicine courtesy Venkatesh Pradesh, Javed Miandad smashing a six off the last ball at Sharjah, Sachin Tendulkar vandalism in Centurion, the bowl out, the most infamous ramp shot from Misbah, Afridi’s two sixes off Ashwin, Kohli’s belligerent ton — every tale becomes so iconic when India and Pakistan lock horns.
The above-mentioned stories, each one with great significance in its own rights, would not have been the 6legends they are if it happened somewhere else, between some other sides. The political history, the on and off relationship between the governments, everything just adds up to the title, making this contest more than just a game of cricket.
Truth to be told, this time both sides have gone off their limits through their advertising, while one antagonized the other bringing up the same old “Father-son” analogy, only to see a retaliation which went a wee-bit political. All we can hope for is the unreasonable jingoism to be dead tomorrow and the true flavour of this classic encounter to be reignited with pure cricketing spirit, but some clouds out there in the sky, slightly dark in complexion, have other ideas.
With no toss happening in the India-New Zealand game, the debate on who replaces Shikhar Dhawan remained a mystery. It still is a 50-50 choice between Dinesh Karthik and Vijay Shankar, with KL Rahul most certainly opening the innings with Rohit Sharma. We could once again see Hardik Pandya bat up the order if the top three can bat out the first 35 overs.
Ravindra Jadeja finds no place in this XI with Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal bowling brilliantly in the middle overs. Kedar Jadhav too is chipping in with a few overs when needed for Virat Kohli. Bhuvneshwar Kumar finally found some rhythm and his partnership with Jasprit Bumrah is beginning to blossom again.
Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (C), Dinesh Karthik/Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah
The ever-unpredictable opening combination of Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman will not face a more daunting task than this in terms of mental pressure. Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez are the only batsmen right now who are scoring runs regularly and they need the likes of Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali to chip in with some contributions.
All eyes will be on the exciting left-arm duo of Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz, who have been the most impressive bowlers from their side. Shadab Khan and Hasan Ali aren’t living up to the promise, but the motivation of playing against India should pump them up big time.
Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfaraz Ahmed (c & wk), Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir.
Focus will be on
Hardik Pandya (India)
Last time these two sides played, Hardik Pandya played his finest knock in Indian jersey in a lost cause. His fearless hitting is now even more gruesome with the added experience, making him a much bigger threat to deal with. He did his confidence a world of good with a stupendous knock against Australia and is also doing a decent job with the ball. He would thoroughly enjoy vengeance for what happened in the Champions Trophy final in 2017.
Mohammad Amir (Pakistan)
Well, a lot of critics doubted his selection, but Mohammad Amir is once again cranking it up at the big stage. In the Champions Trophy final last time, he picked up three huge wickets of Rohit, Dhawan and Kohli and he has one lesser threat to deal with this time. He loves the big moments and surely he loves bowling against the Indians, now is perhaps the finest chance for him to erase all the sins he did in the past.
Head to head
Matches played – 131 | India won – 54 | Pakistan won – 73 | No Result – 4
3 – Pakistan won just three games against India in ICC tournaments out of 16, all of which came in the Champions Trophy. (Tournaments include Champions Trophy, World Cup and World T20).
57 – Virat Kohli needs 57 runs to become the 9th batsman in ODIs with 11,000 runs. He will also be the fastest to get there (Sachin Tendulkar currently holds the record, who achieved the feat in 276 innings, while Kohli played just 221 thus far).
TV – Star Sports
Match Timings – 15:00 IST; 10:30 local