It will be a dress rehearsal for the Asia Cup final when India renew their rivalry against Pakistan as the two neighbours meet once again in the Asia Cup 2023 Super 4 stage. After a washed-out encounter in the group stage, both teams will be hoping for bragging rights as the two Asian giants look to cement their place in the Asia Cup final.
Pakistan have already defeated Bangladesh, so Babar Azam’s men have that advantage, while India come into the Super 4 clash after bowling just once against, Nepal, and having batted in both their group games.
Due to the rain, India’s bowling attack didn’t get the chance to test themselves against Pakistan’s batters, but the faceoff between India’s batters, and the likes of Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, and Haris Rauf was surely a memorable one.
After an early collapse which saw India lose both openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill cheaply, Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer also failed to leave a mark. If not for Ishan Kishan’s 82-run knock and Hardik Pandya’s 87-run inning, the Men in Blue would have been in severe trouble.
Hardik and Ishan helped India to a respectable total of 266, but the Indian batting order cannot afford another collapse on Sunday, September 10.
The pitch at the R Premdasa Stadium in Colombo as seen during the clash between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh was far from the batting-friendly wickets in Lahore. It was a tricky surface, which assisted spinners, therefore, Axar Patel might be a handy option.
Rauf with 9 scalps leads the leading wicket-takers charts in the Asia Cup 2023 edition followed by Naseem and Shaheen who have 7 wickets each. It will boil down to how India’s star-studded batting order fares against the searing pace attack.
There’s another dilemma, with KL Rahul back, it remains to be seen whether the wicketkeeper batter will be risked or whether Rohit would like to ease the Karnataka man into action with Kishan making a strong case for his place.
Mohammed Shami was left out for the previous clash with Shardul Thakur being favoured, however, Axar could come in handy as an added spin option on the trick Colombo surface.
There are plenty of questions that the Indian batters will face, Pakistan’s pace trio will pose a serious threat, and even though the numbers do not make for good reading against left-handed speedsters, not giving away early wickets in the batting powerplay might go a long way in blunting Pakistan’s threat.
Amidst all these permutations and combinations, rain is likely to be another factor and there is a very high chance of the weather playing a role in the final result of the match, even though there’s a reserve day at place.
The Men in Green already announced their playing XI in a day advance, making just one change, Mohammad Nawaz missed out and Faheem Ashraf took his place.
How the Indian bowlers face Pakistan’s batting arsenal will be another chapter in this historic battle, but if the likes of Rohit Sharma, and Virat Kohli can keep Pakistan’s pace attack at bay, they will have won half the battle, making the road to the final of Asia Cup all the more easy.