The most glamorous clash in international cricket is under serious threat due to the inclement weather in Manchester, with India and Pakistan set to collide. What makes the occasion so special these days is rare moments during which India and Pakistan take the field to face-off against one another. But with the forecast looking dodgy for Sunday, this could turn out to be one of the most disappointing stories in the history of the World Cup with rain being a massive factor. The anticipation for this clash has built up to the extreme ever since the fixture list was released and fans from both the sides will be praying that the rain Gods relent and show some mercy on the city of Manchester.
India vs Pakistan, 22nd Match
Old Trafford, Manchester (3:00 pm IST)
Played – 131
India wins – 54
Pakistan wins – 73
The one number which has always dominated the discourse on both sides of the border though is 6. The teams have clashed against each other 6 times at the World Cup, with Pakistan not managing to win a single match.
For India, KL Rahul is set to return as the opener along with Rohit Sharma following Shikhar Dhawan’s thumb injury. It also remains to be seen who bats at No.4 for India, with it being a straight shoot-out between Vijay Shankar and Dinesh Karthik. Shankar might have the edge though, as he was the designated No.4 batter for the team before the tournament and will also provide some valuable overs with the ball. The rest of the team looks in good form and virtually picks itself.
Pakistan finally have a settled unit and put up a good showing against Australia despite losing the match. The re-introduction of Mohammed Amir and Wahab Riaz has added much more potency to the bowling attack. There are still some question marks over the selection of Shoaib Malik and his poor form could well cost him his place in the side. Pakistan may opt to bring in an extra bowler to add some more balance to the attack.
Virat Kohli (India): Will anyone back against the man when it comes to a massive occasion like this? The Indian skipper will be fired up for this contest and will be rearing to go. If weather permits, we could well see a Virat Kohli masterclass in Manchester.
Babar Azam (Pakistan): When Babar Azam bats, he takes you to the promised land. A treat to watch for the sore eyes, many have labelled the talented youngster as Pakistan’s very own version of Virat Kohli. There will be huge expectations on his shoulders to upstage the man that many people compare him with.
India: KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah.
Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk & c), Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Shaheen Afridi.