sports gazette

India v Pakistan Preview: India look confident as Pakistan gear up for acid test

Published: 31 May 2017

ICC Champions Trophy 2017: India vs Pakistan Preview

Defending champions India will look to even things out during their Champions Trophy encounter against Pakistan on this Sunday at the Edgbaston Cricket Stadium against arch-rivals Pakistan.


Pakistan having the upper hand before the commencement of this year’s competition as they have defeated India twice over the years in the Champions Trophy. These were Pakistan’s only wins against their rivals in a multi-national ICC event.


India and Pakistan have played each other thrice in the Champions Trophy since the tournament was inaugurated.


During the Champions Trophy 2004 Pakistan beat India by 3 wickets in a low scoring game that was played in Birmingham. India had managed to post a target of 200 runs after they were all out in the last over of the innings. Pakistan inched towards their victory after a slow start and entered the semi-finals.


Pakistan repeated history after beating India by 54 runs at the Centurion during their match in the 2006 edition of the tournament. A 206-run stand for the fourth wicket meant Pakistan put up a total of 302/9 on the scoreboard. It was a fairly comfortable win for Pakistan as four Pakistani bowlers picked up couple of wickets each. This resulted in India getting all out for 248 in the 45th over.


But Birmingham proved lucky for India as they had the last laugh when they played Pakistan for the second time in the 2006 edition. India dominated the game to beat Pakistan by 8 wickets with the help of the Duckworth and Lewis System.


The Indian bowlers showed some character as Pakistan were dismissed for a measly 165 in 39.4 overs. Both of India’s pacers and spinners scalped two wickets each. Following which, India got the perfect start as the openers proved attacking for the Pakistani bowlers. Rain played spoilt-sport twice during the match but India ensured that they remained much ahead of the D/L par score. India achieved their revised target of 102 in the 20th over.


This year’s tournament is indeed going to be an acid test for newly-appointed captain, Sarfraz Ahmed. Particularly, the highly-charged game against India.


The exit of captain Misbah-ul-Haq from the one-day scene combined with the need to overcome serious shortcomings in batting to be competitive enough are the struggles for Pakistan. The team has been witnessing a prolonged low phase in the one-day format in recent years.


The downfall began when Pakistan faced a first-round exit from the 2015 World Cup.


Pakistan sneaked their way into the eight-team tournament due to their clean-sweep against Zimbabwe in May 2015. England's whitewashing of the West Indies also proved beneficial for Pakistan.


On the other hand, the Pakistan bowling department looks promising with Mohammed Amir spearheading them. But Pakistan maybe facing injury woes as left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz might be doubtful for the Sunday game as he experienced pain in his knee during training.


Meanwhile, India enter the tournament on a high as they thrashed Bangladesh in their warm up game yesterday by registering a 240 run victory.


Shikhar Dhawan and Hardik Pandya contributed by scoring fifties. Whereas, injured Manish Pandey’s replacement, Dinesh Karthik scored 94 runs.


The Indian pacers utilised the English conditions to make sure Bangladesh were all out for 84.
After winning against New Zealand in their warm up game, India would confident about their form going into the tournament.


It would be interesting to see whether India continue with their form or will Pakistan who are being addressed as the underdogs will finally rise to the occasion.


No matter which team emerges as the winner, but the Indian- Pakistan clash promises to be nothing less than an action-packed, nail-biting entertainer with emotions running high.

 

Factfile:

  • Pakistan have never made it past the semi-final of the Champions Trophy.
  • Mohammad Yousuf is the highest run-getter for Pakistan (484) while Shahid Afridi has picked up the most wickets (14).
  • The last time the two sides met in an ICC tournament, the tickets were sold out in just 12 minutes.
  • Reportedly tickets for Sunday’s game have been completely sold out.

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