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Asia Cup Super Four: Pakistan vs India Preview

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

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The 2nd ODI of the India v Pakistan three-match bilateral ODI series Asia Cup battle is here. After an incredibly one-sided contest on Wednesday, here is hoping that one of cricket’s most colourful rivalries will light up an Asia Cup tournament that is somewhat flickering right now.

Pakistan, for all their pre-tournament expectations (from myself, also), have somewhat underwhelmed so far. Chasing 250+ against a good Afghanistan attack in these conditions will give them confidence, but that they let Afghanistan reach that mark could be cause for concern. Their fielding, where they dropped five catches, was an abomination. However, win here would confirm a spot in the Final, and what better way to do it than by beating arch-rivals India?

While Pakistan have been underwhelming in their last two outings, the opposite can be said of India. After a scratchy, somewhat nervy, win over Hong Kong, the Indians have burst into gear with huge wins over Pakistan and Bangladesh. These two victories have been on the back of their bowling, forcing an unbelievable 190 dot balls against sorry Bangladesh on Friday, paving the way for their in-form top order to cruise to the target once again.

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Key to a Pakistan win

While India have been very clinical in their last two performances, they are not without any concerns. Ravindra Jadeja is batting at seven, and while India have decent talent on paper in the middle order, they are yet to suggest they can grab a game by the scruff of the neck in recent times. Can Pakistan get early wickets, and then maintain pressure with more aggressive bowling and better catching than on display vs Afghanistan?
In addition to their bowling throughout their innings, their death bowling was poor. Usman Khan and Hasan Ali were unable to force dot balls at the end, bowling far too many hittable balls. 
Afghanistan getting to 250+ was a big ask for Pakistan to chase, but Shoaib Malik’s experience and know-how got his team home. Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam set things up with a patient, but important stand, but much more is needed from the likes of Fakhar Zaman and Sarfraz Ahmed. Fakhar in particular is probably dreaming of Zimbabwe right now – he is looking to avoid his third duck in a row.

Key to an India win

Such is India’s confidence with the ball right now that they are willing to bowl first in the UAE heat, and they have been magnificent in executing their plans. Across their last two games vs Pakistan and Bangladesh, India have conceded just 335 runs in 92.2 overs, testament to the planning and execution involved in their bowling and fielding efforts.
Ravindra Jadeja will sure be looking to build the pressure on the Pakistani batsmen, but much depends also on the impressive Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah opening burst. They rocked Pakistan with two early wickets on Wednesday, which forced the men in green to crawl along a little in attempt of a recovery. Can India’s impressive attack combine again to reach the Final?
Also, in addition to the bowlers, Rohit Sharma has been in fine touch. His 80* on Friday was his second successive fifty, and he remains a vital key to India’s chances today along with Shikhar Dhawan. Can the top order step up, and be backed up effectively by the middle order if required?
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Possible XIs

Pakistan were short of spin options against Afghanistan, which nearly came back to haunt them. Shadab Khan could be fit to play today, which will be a huge boost. Shaheen Afridi was unlucky against Afghanistan, but it remains to be seen whether he or Haris Sohail play in this one.
Pakistan possible XI: 1. Fakhar Zaman, 2. Imam-ul-Haq, 3. Babar Azam, 4. Shoaib Malik, 5. Sarfraz Ahmed (c & wk), 6. Asif Ali, 7. Shadab Khan, 8. Mohammad Nawaz, 9. Shaheen Afridi, 10. Hasan Ali, 11. Usman Khan
India, with the chance to qualify for the Final, should stick with the same team. A win here can enable them to rotate players in the last Super Four game against Afghanistan.
India possible XI: 1. Rohit Sharma (c), 2. Shikhar Dhawan, 3. Ambati Rayudu, 4. Dinesh Karthik, 5. MS Dhoni (wk), 6. Kedhar Jadhav, 7. Ravindra Jadeja, 8. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9. Kuldeep Yadav, 10. Jasprit Bumrah, 11. Yuzvendra Chahal

Stats and Facts

  • The last four India-Pakistan matches have been one-sided. The results read: eight wickets, 180 runs, 124 runs, 76 runs.
  • Rohit Sharma needs 94 runs to reach 7,000 ODI runs. Eight Indian batsmen have previously reached this mark.
  • Babar Azam plays his 50th ODI today.
  • Bhuvneshwar Kumar needs four wickets to reach 100 in ODIs, and Yuzvendra Chahal needs two to reach 50.

Prediction

Pakistan is a side that can step up and surprise us all when we least expect it. India need to guard against this possibility today, but they are looking a well-oiled machine today.
The India-Pakistan prediction on Wednesday was not good from me, so hoping for better luck today! India to win and reach the Final.
Thanks for reading!
PS, looking to improve your cricketing skills? More wickets? More runs? More fun? Check out some great tips from Cricket Secrets! You can visit here.
Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. He is also a keen fantasy sports player. Charbel has also had the privilege of interviewing cricketers on the CricBlog TV YouTube channel, including James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Saurabh Netravalkar: https://www.youtube.com/@cricblogtv For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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