IND vs PAK, Asia Cup 2023: Determined Team India Take On Pumped-Up Pakistan In Kandy

IND vs PAK, Asia Cup 2023: Determined Team India Take On Pumped-Up Pakistan In Kandy

The Asia Cup 2023 in all its seriousness gets underway with the arch-rivals and Asian giants India and Pakistan locking horns in Kandy for what is expected to be a cracker of an encounter.

Haridev PushparajUpdated: Friday, September 01, 2023, 08:27 PM IST
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Babar Azam and Rohit Sharma. | (Image Credits: Twitter)

Weather forecast for Saturday in Kandy is not encouraging but an India-Pakistan game is an India-Pakistan game.

The energy, enthusiasm and excitement simply does not waver irrespective of what the nature has to offer on a given day.

So, the Asia Cup in all its seriousness gets underway with the arch-rivals and Asian giants India and Pakistan locking horns in Kandy for what is expected to be a cracker of an encounter.

There has been a lot of dilly-dallying over where the Asia Cup was going to be held in the first place. And the contention was due to the involvement of these two teams who represent countries that are perenially at odds with each other.

However, better sense has prevailed and sport has won eventually and the fans can't complain about it.

Pakistan on a high

Talking about the preparation of the two teams for the much anticipated encounter, Pakistan will definitely feel they have a mental edge.

The Babar Azam-led side are coming off an overwhelming victory against minnows Nepal in the opening game of the tournament in Multan.The victory was largely powered by the humongous efforts of skipper Babar himself who struck a monumental 158 and leg-spinner Shadab Khan's four-wicket haul.

It was a thoroughly professional performance by a world-class Pakistan team with all their gears operating in tandem and to great effect.

The pace attack warmed themselves up nicely as well with Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah scalping five wickets among them.

Pakistan therefore will relish the prospect of having a go at India although they would realise that beating Nepal is just a mental booster and nothing more.

India to focus on team combination

The Indian team will use this game in all likelihood to test their most probable World Cup XI and especially with one of their main top-order batters KL Rahul ruled out of the first two games.

In the absence of Rahul, Ishan Kishan is most likely to make it to the playing XI as the wicket-keeper batter and play at the No 5 or 6 slot depending on situation and conditions.

The seven-time Asia Cup champions will open the batting with skipper Rohit Sharma and young sensation Shubman Gill. And they will hope the opening combination comes good ahead of the World Cup.

Superstar Virat Kohli will occupy the No 3 slot as he always does with Shreyas Iyer coming in at No 4. The No 5 and 6

slots will most probably be taken up by Kishan or Hardik Pandya with the team management likely to take a call based on game situation and conditions.

Mix of spin and seam

With rains expected, India could go in with two specialist spin-allrounders in Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel and a seam bowling all-rounder in Shardul Thakur at 7, 8 and 9.

Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah will complete the line-up at 10 and 11 respectively as India take the field with a fairly balanced and potent attack.

Rain factor in Kandy

The weather invariably will be a major factor but the team that wins the toss will most likely look to field first.

The conditions get better as the day progresses and provide some assistance to the spinners as well. Now, all this is based on the assumption that there will be no rain.

If there is persistent rain and start and stop play scenarios, then Indian fans will have to be ready with their DLS calculations during the match.

Let's hope we have a game and it's an absolute cracker.

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