Former Australia opener Matthew Hayden has warned the Indian batters to be careful against the Pakistan fast-bowling trio of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah as the two teams get ready to lock horns in the third match of the Asia Cup 2023 on Saturday.
The two teams had last faced each other in an ODI over four years ago in the ICC World Cup 2019 in Manchester which the Men in Blue won comfortably.
But it won't be easy for them to repeat that feat in Pallekele, against a strong Pakistani team which has already won a match in the tournament and have the momentum in their favour.
Pakistan crushed Nepal by 238 runs to kickstart the Asia Cup with a bang while India will be opening their campaign on September 2.
Indian batters vs Pakistani pacers
And Hayden feels it is going to be a contest between the Indian batters and Pakistani pacers at Pallekele.
"India is playing against Pakistan’s pace trio. Well, I can tell you this is one of the spiciest competitions on the planet.
"We’ve got Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, and Naseem. Three very different types of bowlers and unique bowlers which require unique plans from Team India. Firstly, the conditions here in Kandy tend to have quite a lot of bounce, so you’ve got to watch that out," Hayden told Star Sports.
The former Pakistan head coach and mentor also highlighted the challenges that the Pakistani pacers will pose to the star-studded Indian batting lineup.
Hayden dissects Pakistan's plans for Indian batters
"Haris Rauf will want to really hustle in and hit the top of off stump. You’ve got to be conservative against Shaheen Afridi.
"We’ll never forget that ball that he bowled to Captain Rohit Sharma, so a little bit of caution against Shaheen Afridi. If it's swinging, look to play out those first three overs.
"And I think with Naseem, even though he will shape the ball, Pakistan can be in a position to advance forward with India managing to take them out of play by aggressive plays against someone like Naseem," Hayden added.
Who will win?
The cricketer-turned-commentator then picked his favourite for the blockbuster contest and gave his reasons for it as well.
"All in all, though, I think it’s going to be Team India that’s going to win. I think they’ve got a deeper, classier batting lineup, and I think they’ve got form on the board as well," Hayden concluded.