Euro 2020 Special
 

India vs Pakistan Asia Cup preview: Dubai rematch set-up

India will play Pakistan in the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup on Sunday, September 4th at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. The match is scheduled to begin at 6 pm local time.

This is an also instant repeat of the match between the two in the group stage of the competition which India won by five wickets with two balls to spare in a close finish.

 

The Super Four

India guaranteed their place as group winners by following up that victory by defeating the group minnows Hong Kong by 40 runs on Wednesday.

That meant Pakistan and Hong Kong contested to decide who would join them in the next stage of the competition.

In the end it was almost embarrassingly one-sided as the two teams met in Sharjah.

Pakistan batted first and made 193/2 from their 20 overs, with opener Mohammad Rizwan making an unbeaten 78 from their 20 overs, and Fakhar Zaman 53. In reply, Hong Kong were bowled out for just 38, losing all ten wickets for only 22 runs.

Extras was their top scorer. Shadab Khan took 4 – 8, and Mohammad Nawaz 3 – 5, as Pakistan won by 155 runs.

Joining India and Pakistan in the Super Fours are Afghanistan and Sri Lanka who came through the other group.

 

This could be a dress rehearsal for the final

Win or lose, this match could be a dress rehearsal for the final, if the two teams can get past the other two sides in the group. India play Sri Lanka on Tuesday and Afghanistan on Thursday, whilst it will be the Pakistan’s turn to play the Afghans on Wednesday, and the Sri Lankans on Friday.

The final itself, which is also being staged in Dubai, will be held on Sunday, September 11th.

 

Key players

Babar Azam

The Pakistan captain has been out of sorts so far in the Middle East, scoring just 10 and 9 respectively. But, he is not top of the ICC batter rankings in both T20I and ODI cricket for nothing. At some stage in this tournament he is likely to come good, and, if this is the day, then he could be very destructive.

Shadab Khan

Leg spinner Shadab Khan did not have any join against the Indians in the first match, although he was economical, but his performance against Hong Kong was a reminder as to how dangerous he can be if the ball starts to turn.

Virat Kohli

There have been signs whilst he has been in the Middle East that Kohli might be finding his form again after an extended period in the doldrums, and he will want to keep that going with the World Cup in mind. Good innings in this match will give him even more self-belief.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Kumar’s contribution to his side is often overlooked, but he remains a key component of their attack, both because of his ability to take wickets, and also because he rarely gives many runs away. With Jadeja missing, his experience could be even more valuable in its match. 

 

The pitch

So far the pitch in Dubai has offered early help to the seamers, before settling down, and providing some turn for the spinners. It traditionally favours the side chasing – which is what India did in the first match between the two. Winning the toss, therefore, could have an important say on the outcome of the match.

 

Predicted teams

India have been dealt a blow with the news that Ravindra Jadeja has been ruled out of the rest of the tournament with injury, and there is no doubt that his experience and ability with both bat and ball will be missed. Axar Patel may deputise for him. Player of the Match against Pakistan last week, Hardik Pandya, who was rested for the Hong Kong match will likely be recalled, which means that there is no place again for Rishabh Pant, much to the chagrin of his many supporters.

Pakistan are likely to field the same XI as played last week.

 

Prediction

It was a closely fought match first time round and this is likely to be no different. Much may depend on who wins the toss, especially from a Pakistan viewpoint, and they will be hoping that their captain can find his form with the bat.

The loss of Jadeja, though is a big blow to India, and that, ultimately could tip the balance in favour of their opponents this time.

 

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