World Cup: High-octane battle between India & Pakistan Sunday

Virat Kohli

Chennai: Touted to be the game of the World Cup tournament, arch-rivals India and Pakistan are all set to play against each other in Manchester tomorrow.

The high-octane clash between the two nations has been the talking point ever since the Pulwama attack in February. However, most of it is focussed on whether India should boycott playing Pakistan in the big tournament, but all that talk has been put to rest and on Sunday, the two teams are set to script another chapter in their famed World Cup rivalry.

It is the only game where emotions, patriotism and spirit run high and players get an extra motivation to perform well. The prevailing political tensions between the two countries has raised tremendous expectations for the match.

More than the game, it is the hype surrounding the contest that makes it more interesting. For both the teams’ fans, while a victory would send them into delirium, a joy equal to that of winning the coveted trophy, a defeat would mean disaster.

It is a contest where India had tasted success on all occasions so far in the World Cup, but when the two teams last met in the Champions Trophy final, Pakistan not only inflicted a drubbing on their arch-rivals but also went on to win the trophy. With memories of that disappointing defeat still fresh in their minds, India will look to take revenge on their opponents this time.

Sarfaraz Ahmed

While Pakistan enters the game after managing a solitary win in the four games they have played so far, India is still unbeaten in the tournament. Sitting eighth in the table, this is a very important game for the men in green. The Sarfaraz-led side has to fire on all cylinders to match the current form that the men in blue are.

One major challenge for the Pakistani batsmen will be to tackle Jasprit Bumrah and the spin twins Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. The trio has been notching up consistent performances in the recent years and knows the knack of picking wickets. They will pose a big threat to the batsmen in the upcoming game.

India, though, will miss the services of Shikhar Dhawan and need their makeshift top order to fire against Pakistan’s famed fast bowling attack that includes in-form Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz, along with Hassan Ali.

Pakistan is also likely to include their leg-spinner Shadab Khan after he was left out owing to a four-pronged pace attack they fielded against the Aussies during their last game.

Rain is likely to play a part in the contest and with both the teams having already faced a washout in the tournament, they will want to play a full game in the packed stadium.

India is geared up to chase history and is on the lookout for their seventh successive win against Pakistan in World Cups, while Pakistan vies to repeat their CT final performance and set a precedent.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

India and Pakistan have faced each other in six matches in ICC Cricket World Cup tournaments. India have won all six games. The highest total posted by India is 300 runs, while highest score posted by Pakistan is 273 when these two teams have clashed in WC. Also, 173 is the lowest total posted by Pakistan and 216 is the lowest total posted by India in the marquee event.

Aaditya Anand M