India vs Pakistan: Preview and Prediction
India is gearing up to clash with arch-rivals Pakistan on the grand stage of the world’s largest cricket arena, Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Saturday. The atmosphere is charged with anticipation, and expectations are soaring as fans around the globe eagerly await this epic encounter.
The two-time World Cup champions India will lock horns against the one-time champion Pakistan on Saturday. Both teams have won two matches each in the World Cup 2023 so far and are all ready to face each other for the 8th time in the history of the ODI World Cup.
Rohit Sharma-led India is looking rock solid and has been in tremendous form since the Asia Cup 2023. India, led by Rohit Sharma, looks strong and hungry for success and will definitely pose some serious challenges to the Babar Azam-led Pakistan.
Talking about possible changes in the playing XI for both teams, Mohammed Shami, who has the experience of playing at Ahmedabad, is likely to replace Shardul Thakur. The availability of Shubman Gill still remains uncertain. As for Pakistan, Babar will most probably continue with the same playing XI, but there could be a toss-up between Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman.
What have they done so far?
India won their first 2 out of 2 matches against Australia and Afghanistan in Chennai and Delhi, respectively. Against Australia, the Men in Blue snatched victory from the brink of defeat. All the credit goes to the match-winning partnership of KL Rahul and Virat Kohli. India chased down the target of 200 runs with 6 wickets remaining.
Following the victory against Australia, India demolished Afghanistan on Wednesday, beating them by 8 wickets while chasing down the target of 273 in 35 overs with ease. Rohit broke several records on Thursday with his 131-run innings. Sharma became the fastest Indian to complete 1000 runs in World Cup history.
Furthermore, the Indian skipper created history by notching his 7th ODI World Cup century, surpassing Sachin Tendulkar’s 6 centuries. Rohit’s 63-ball century was the fastest hundred by an Indian in World Cup history.
Pakistan is also coming with a lot of confidence as they beat The Netherlands in their first match of the WC 2023 in Hyderabad by 81 runs. Saud Shakeel was the saving grace for Pakistan in that match.
However, the unpredictable Pakistan team created history against Sri Lanka by chasing down the target of 345 runs, which became the highest target successfully chased in ICC World Cup history. Abdullah Shafique and Mohammad Rizwan stole the show against Lanka.
Head to Head Record
India and Pakistan have faced each other in 134 ODI matches, with Pakistan leading the charts with 73 wins, while India has won 56 times. On 5 occasions, the matches ended in a draw. Post the 2011 World Cup, India displayed its dominance by beating Pakistan in 9 out of 14 matches, with Pakistan only managing to win 4 times.
The last time Pakistan won an ODI against India was back in 2017 during the Champions Trophy Final, while India recently registered a 228-run win over Pakistan in the Asia Cup 2023.
Virat Kohli (India): The maestro of batting, Kohli, has been in tremendous form and can emerge as a vital player for Team India against Pakistan. Kohli’s last 5 ODI scores were 55*, 85, 56, 3, 122*, and 4. Kohli has scored 140 runs in two innings of the WC 2023 with an average of 140.
Kohli’s wicket is going to be crucial for Pakistan, as he could literally break the shackles of the weak Pakistani bowling lineup. Kohli has played 15 ODIs against Pakistan and has accumulated 662 runs with an average of 54.66, including three centuries and two fifties.
Mohammad Rizwan (Pakistan): Rizwan, has been enjoying the form of his life in ODIs, being the top run-scorer for Pakistan in 2023. He has accumulated 827 runs in 17 innings with an impressive average of 75.18, including one hundred and seven fifties.
Rizwan, in the match against Lanka, played a gem of an innings in which he smashed his 3rd ODI hundred, scoring an unbeaten 131, leading the team to consecutive wins. Moreover, he also bailed out the team against the Dutch, in which he scored 68 off 75. India will aim to dismiss him early before he could damage India’s hopes.
India: Rohit Sharma ©, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj
Pakistan: Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam ©, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf
Babar had additional pressure to score big runs, as he has completely failed to accumulate substantial runs since his 151-run knock against Nepal in the Asia Cup 2023. Moreover, the Pakistani spinners have to walk a tightrope when facing the Indian batsmen.
The team batting first has won more matches at Ahmedabad, but if we consider the WC 2023 Opening Match, the Blackcaps experienced smooth sailing as they chased down the target without much trouble against England.
It will not be a walk in the park for either team, but India will enjoy the edge due to their supreme form and the fact that over 1 lakh people will turn out to the stadium to cheer the hosts.