Unbeaten India take on Pakistan

An unbeaten Indian team will face a wounded Pakistani side in a super Sunday clash at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium with a lot at stake. Pakistan suffered a heavy defeat against India only a few days back and were made to stretch by Afghanistan till the 50th over to avoid an upset but Sarfraz Khan’s men will have added pressure to topple India, their arch-rivals.

On the contrary, India will feel a lot at ease. They had no discomfort against Bangladesh and ticked all boxes to dominate on Friday. A win for either side will take them closer to the final of the Asia Cup and here’s a look at what’s on offer ahead of the mega clash.

From the Indian dressing room:

In Virat Kohli’s absence both Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have stepped up to do the bulk of the scoring for India. Rohit realises the importance of a solid opening stand and has mentioned his intentions to chase under lights. He failed against Hong Kong but has hit two successive fifties to lead the team from the front.

Ambati Rayudu at number three has not disappointed either while Dinesh Karthik has looked solid in that number four position even though MS Dhoni batted there against Bangladesh to get some minutes on the 22-yards.

All of this has meant that KL Rahul has had to warm the bench despite being in form. MS Dhoni looked comfortable during his 33-run stay and India will take that. The way he played a part in Shakib’s dismissal behind the stumps only shows that he will continue to remain an asset for India despite not leading the Indian team.

Kedar Jadhav’s services with the bat and ball were both not needed against Bangladesh but Rohit knows how to use him wisely.

Ravindra Jadeja, who came in for Hardik Pandya, made an immediate impact against Bangladesh picking four wickets but he will be also hoping to get a good hit in the middle considering the form that he is in.

Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal went wicketless against Bangladesh but conceded just 74 runs from their 20 overs, dictating the middle phase. Rohit will be confident of them ticking the wickets column on Sunday.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah have been exceptional with the new ball and at the death. However, Pakistan will be expected do their homework to counter the threat but Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Bumrah both have it in them to come out strong once again against an out of form Fakhar Zaman and Co.

From the Pakistani dressing room:

Fakhar Zaman’s form will be a cause of concern for Pakistan. The high flying southpaw has two back to back ducks to his name already which will haunt him but the men in green will expect him to bury his demons and provide Pakistan with a strong start on Sunday. Imam Ul-Haq, his opening partner, scored a fine 80 against the Afghans and could be a threat to India if he gets going.

India’s main worry will be the form of Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik who have got runs for Pakistan. Sarfraz will be hoping for them to score runs but at a brisk pace to avoid what happened in the previous encounter against India.

Sarfraz himselt at number five has disappointed so far. He needs to contribute with the bat considering that Pakistan are probably playing a batsman less. Their big hitter Asif Ali will also be under the scrutiny to perform. Pakistan tried Haris Sohail at four but if he retains his position in the side will be interesting to see.

The 7th ranked ODI side fielded Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Nawaz who snared five wickets between them while Usman Khan, who took a beating against Rohit went wicketless against Afghanistan.

With Shadab Khan’s fitness still in doubt and Mohammad Amir looking to return, Pakistan could look at dropping Usman. They will also expect more from their latest sensation Hasan Ali who hasn’t quite come to the party yet.

Overall, considering form, India still have an advantage over their neighbours but the proceedings of an India-Pakistan game are never easy to predict.