Old Trafford in Manchester is used to witnessing Manchester United vs Liverpool. They will now witness India vs Pakistan on Sunday. Inarguably one of the most anticipated clashes of the 2019 ICC World Cup, this match #22 is also under rain threat.
This match is one of the first to be sold out, so the romance of an India vs Pakistan can’t be understated. Form book goes out of the window, but just in case you want to know India have the edge in that. With two wins and one no result, India are unbeaten this tournament. Pakistan, on the other hand, have been inconsistent. A win against England was the only time they looked confident and controlled.
The challenge for India is to buckle the emotions and play their natural game. Virat Kohli’s men have had an upper hand over Pakistan in the recent times. Although Shikhar Dhawan will miss the game, they have enough firepower to be confident.
KL Rahul will come up the order, while Vijay Shankar is likely to come at four. The form of Jasprit Bumrah with the ball is a big positive for India. So is the news of wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav regaining his edge.
Pakistan remain the most unpredictable side of world cricket. The side that has thumped England is not the side that struggled against West Indies. Even against Australia, Pakistan controlled the game for most parts only to lose out key moments.
Opener Fakhar Zaman’s drop in form is a big concern for captain Sarfaraz Ahmed. However, the improved form of Mohammad Hafeez is a boost. So is the bowling returns of Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz.
Fantasy Players to Watch
Mohammad Amir has shown this tournament that he is back to his best. The left-armers usually trouble the Indian batsmen and that could continue.
Babar Azam looked in great touch against Australia before being dismissed. This time around, he should fancy his chances of a big knock.
Rohit Sharma has added responsibility after Dhawan’s injury. He started the tournament with scores of 122* and 57, so there should be more runs coming off his bat.
Vijay Shankar should fancy his chances of getting a game.
India: 1 Rohit Sharma 2 KL Rahul 3 Virat Kohli (C) 4 Vijay Shankar 5 MS Dhoni (WK) 6 Hardik Pandya 7 Kedar Jadhav 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar 9 Kuldeep Yadav 10 Yuzvendra Chahal 11 Jasprit Bumrah
Asif Ali could get the boot out after a forgettable game against Australia.
Pakistan: 1 Fakhar Zaman 2 Imam-ul-Haq 3 Babar Azam 4 Mohammad Hafeez 5 Sarfaraz Ahmed (C & WK) 6 Haris Sohail 7 Imad Wasim 8 Shadab Khan 9 Wahab Riaz 10 Mohammad Amir 11 Shaheen Afridi
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