India v Pakistan, 4th ODI, Asia Cup, DambullaMatch of The Year 2010 - Electrifying India-Pak Face Off in Offing19-Jun-2010 02:18:00 GMT
Dambulla: It will be a battle of attrition when arch rivals India and Pakistan resume their high-voltage cricketing rivalry after eight months in an Asia Cup match.
The battle lines have been drawn for what is regarded as most sought-after match in world cricket, which dwarfs the interest evinced even in the Ashes series between England and Australia.
Though the wicket is not ideal for an ODI, it should produce an electrifying contest as Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Shahid Afridi's men fight for supremacy at the Rangiri Dambulla international stadium.
The last time the teams met across the square, Pakistan had the measure of India in the Champions Trophy in South Africa last September and Dhoni's legion would be aching for revenge.
Pakistan are known to be dangerously volatile when put in a do-or-die situation, as is the situation now after they lost their first match to Sri Lanka.
A determined and aggressive Afridi could spoil India's party if he cuts loose in the middle, as he did against the Lankans.
The Akmal brothers, Umar and Kamran, are immensely capable of turning the match on its head when the chips are down. Salman Butt and Shoaib Malik also have the reputation to destroy any attack on their day.
But man to man, India have a superior batting unit. Unlike Pakistan, India have a deep batting line-up, with Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan capable of pulling their side out of crisis.
But it will be interesting to see how Virender Sehwag responds to the Pakistan challenge. On return from a shoulder injury, he made 11 against Bangladesh, struggling to move back and across the stumps during his 14-ball tenure at the square.
Gautam Gambhir worked hard for his 82 against Bangladesh, but would carry the confidence of spending time in the middle into the game against Pakistan.
A determined Dhoni was also among the runs (38 not out in 45 balls). Gambhir and Dhoni's form aside, India would need significant contributions from Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma to win this game.
Both teams have a reasonably good bowling line-up. If Shoaib Akthar, who hobbled out with a strained left knee after a practice session, finds the rhythm which had deserted him in the game against Lanka, it would be an intense contest in the middle.
India Ashish Nehra struggled with his fitness in the first game and is a doubtful starter against Pakistan. A final decision will be taken on Saturday morning, and if required, Ashok Dinda should replace him.
Squad from MS Dhoni (C & WK), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Saurabh Tiwary, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Praveen Kumar, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Pragyan Ojha, Ashok Dinda, Ravichandran Ashwin
Pakistan Following the struggles of Shahzaib and Amin at the top, Imran Farhat can expect a recall. Shoaib's fitness issues will also be a talking point in the Pakistan dressing room.
Squad from Shahid Afridi (C), Salman Butt (VC), Imran Farhat, Shahzaib Hasan, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Amin, Kamran Akmal (WK), Abdul Razzaq, Mohammad Aamer, Mohammad Asif, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Asad Shafiq (WK)
Stats and trivia
- India and Pakistan have faced off eight times in the Asia Cup, with India winning three and losing four. One of the games did not have a result.
- Shoaib Malik has plundered 1685 runs against India - the only side against whom he has crossed 1000 - scoring four of his seven ODI hundreds against them, including two in the teams last two games.
- Salman Butt also enjoys facing India, with five of his eight tons coming against the neighbours. He is 82 runs away from the 1000-run mark against them
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Start time 14:30 local (09:00 GMT)