Preview – Clash of old arch-rivals with India holding the edge
This is by far the most anticipated match of the World Cup. An India-Pakistan encounter always grabs eyeballs all over the world. But whenever these two sides clash in a World Cup match, it instantly becomes a humdinger. Even though Pakistan is yet to beat India in a World Cup clash, the excitement for the game every single time they meet in the event is tremendous. Because facts, logic, and numbers don’t matter in an India-Pakistan encounter. That one is purely about emotions.
Things will be much the same when India and Pakistan clash in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 match at Manchester. India has beaten their arch-rivals four times in the last 5 ODIs between them. Pakistan won only one game, but it was the all-important final of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 in England.
But the 50-over World Cup is a different ball game. The two sides first met in a World Cup in the 1992 edition in Australia. Ever since India and Pakistan have clashed six times in total in World Cup encounters, and India has won every single time.
Will things be different this time? Will Virat Kohli’s India register an emphatic 7th consecutive World Cup win over their neighbors? Or will Sarafarz Ahmed’s Pakistan be able to end this streak finally?
From the looks of it, both sides have some solid players, but India certainly has the better-rounded unit. Their top three – Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, and Virat Kohli – are the best in the world and love playing against Pakistan at the big stage. KL Rahul with his class, MS Dhoni with his experience and Hardik Pandya with his hitting prowess can be dangerous batsmen in the middle and lower order for Pakistan’s bowlers and can take the game away from them.
India’s bowling is even superior to their batting. In Jasprit Bumrah they have the world’s best fast bowler at the moment who can dismantle Pakistan’s top-order. Mohammad Shami is in a good rhythm. And the spinners – Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav – can also strangle the batsmen in the middle overs.
Pakistan’s batting would be depended mainly on Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman. Shoaib Malik, who has always done well against India, can be the game-changer too in the middle-order.
Pakistan’s bowling has flattered to deceive of late, which has surprised their fans. However, Indian batsmen would still have to be wary of 19-year-old talented seamer Shaheen Afridi, young tearaway fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain and left-arm spinner Imad Wasim. They are potential wicket-takers and can harm India’s fragile middle-order. The ferocious Mohammad Amir, who was the wrecker-in-chief for Pakistan in the Champions Trophy 2017 final against India, may get to display his talent once again.
Pitch Conditions and India vs Pakistan Prediction:
Not many ODI matches have been played in the recent past in Old Trafford, Manchester – the last one was way back in 2015. Manchester is not known to be a very high-scoring venue, and only three scores of 300-plus have been achieved here thus far with the highest total being 318-7 by Sri Lanka against England in 2006.
Hence, it will be interesting to see how the wicket plays out in this game. The ball might seam around, and the spinners might come into play later. It is likely that the team batting first should get more than 270-plus, which will make things very exciting.
This India-Pakistan clash promises to be an exciting one. Whether it goes on to be thrilling and nail-biting remains to be seen. But India’s all-around balance and their unassailable record in the World Cup over their rivals does give them an edge against Pakistan. But then again, whenever India and Pakistan are involved, you never really know how things will transpire. An exhilarating contest is thus on the cards.