India vs Pakistan: Preview and Prediction
Pakistan started its campaign on a winning note by beating Nepal in the inaugural match by 238 runs whereas India would be playing their first match only. Pakistan skipper Babar Azam scored a scintillating ton in the game against Nepal with Iftikhar Ahmed stealing the show in the death overs with his splendid batting by scoring 109 runs.
On the other hand, India could be under pressure with Pakistan on the other end in their first match and the absence of KL Rahul in the first two games is another setback for the team. Rohit Sharma has a well-drilled and balanced side capable of defeating the Men in Green but Azam & Co. would also be full of confidence after their huge victory in the first game.
What have they done so far?
This is going to be India’s first match of the tournament and Sharma’s men couldn’t have gotten a tougher task than facing Pakistan. Skipper Rohit would be keen to give his best in this high-voltage encounter whereas support from Virat Kohli and other big names would be crucial on Saturday.
With Rahul not playing in this game, Shreyas Iyer could be drafted into the squad as a pure batter solidifying the middle order.
Pakistan, on the other hand, had a phenomenal start to the Asia Cup 2023 as they defeated Nepal by 238 runs in Multan. The result was quite predictable from the beginning and skipper Babar Azam scored a sensational century to put it further beyond doubt getting tremendous support from Iftikhar Ahmed as he smashed 109 runs off just 71 balls.
On the bowling front, everyone contributed with the ball with Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf picking up two wickets whereas Shadab Khan grabbed four wickets with a decent economy of 4.10.
The battle between India and Pakistan will surely be an electrifying encounter and it would be interesting to see which side would play better on that particular day. Though Pakistan is at the number one spot right now, the battle against India would be a tough one for sure.
Head to Head Record
India and Pakistan have played 132 ODI matches to date out of which India has won on 55 occasions whereas Pakistan got victory in 73 matches. The record might be in favor of Pakistan currently but when it comes to the modern era, it is never easy to tackle against the Indian team.
Team India has been a completely different side post 2000 where they defeated Pakistan on numerous occasions in ODI cricket including a remarkable series victory in 2003-04 under the leadership of Sourav Ganguly.
Babar Azam: One of the top players in the world right now in any format, Babar Azam started this tournament with a bang by scoring a remarkable century in the first match against Nepal. The right-hander was adjudged the player of the match for his splendid innings and now he would like to continue this momentum in the match against India.
Babar would be up against a quality pace attack of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, and Mohammad Siraj and it is not going to be easy for him to handle them at their best but support from batters like Mohammed Rizwan and Agha Salman should make the task easier.
Virat Kohli: Many cricket fans would be hoping to revisit Virat Kohli’s sensational innings against Pakistan which he played last year in the T20 World Cup. However, this format might not allow him to go with that flow easily.
Though Kohli is one of the best ODI batters of all time, he would want to take his time before going after the bowlers. The Delhi-born batter is also someone to whom bowlers would fear to bowl in any situation and if he gets started on Saturday, no one can stop him from making a memorable day for India.
Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam ©, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Agha Salman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf
India: Ishan Kishan (wk), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma ©, Shreyas Iyer, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Siraj, Mohammad Shami
It is always difficult to predict the winner between these arch rivals and if they are playing at a neutral venue, prediction becomes even more difficult. Pakistan started on a terrific note but India has a better record against Pakistan in the tournament with 7 victories whereas Pakistan has won 5 fixtures previously.