Mother of all Cricketing battles, is the well deserved tag for an India -Pakistan face off. Some may say Ashes is an ultimate cricketing rivalry, but the Indo-Pak cricket game is the thing which involves everyone around the globe in the most intensifying battle between two South Asian Neighbors. Be it any cricket maniac or the one who has got absolutely no interest in cricket, one gets easily involved in the Indo-Pak rivalry. Children bunk their schools, offices come to halt, everything is paused just to witness the on-field battle between two great Cricketing nations.
So what makes the Indo-Pak rivalry so special?
Well there is a rich history behind it. It is as much cricketing as political. Be it Javed Miandad’s last ball six, Miandad -More Spat, Amir Sohail-Prasad hyper-adrenaline WC, 1996 moment, Gambhir-Afridi on-field heated moment, all attribute to the classical cricketing confrontation between two nations.
Nowadays due to the political reasons, this fiercest rivalry has become somewhat very rare and it comes to horizon only in the ICC events and some Asia cup games. That is very frustrating and annoying for a vivid follower of cricket.
After highlighting some dogmatic effects of Indo-Pak rivalry on the people watching it as a spectator, let us shift our focus on the guys who make it riveting on the field for all the people watching it around the globe.
As a cricketer, this is the pinnacle, to prove your mettle, skills and all that is in your kitty. People may forget Shoaib Akhtar’s toe crushing Yorker to dismiss Adam Gilchrist but will never obliviate Akhtar’s ball from hell to dismiss Legendary Tendulkar in front of millions at the Eden gardens.
People may not be too reminiscent about Misbah ul Haq’s achievement as a cricketer, but will always remember that World Cup losing Scoop by Misbah to some Joginder Sharma. People may overlook Shahid Afridi’s failures in the Cricketing arena as a batsman, but will always recollect and recall his two match winning Sixes to Ashwin in 2014 Asia cup game. Still Javed Miandad’s last ball six haunts the Indian supporters to an optimal level. So, in a nutshell, Indo-Pak game can make or break the career of cricketer from either of two nations.
After all this build up, let’s shift our focus on some cricketing stats between two great nations:
In all ODIs between two teams, Pakistan leads India with 72-51 win-loss margin. Although an average cricket fan who has started to watch cricket from past few years may ridicule this fact. Such is Pakistan’s statistical dominance over India in ODI cricket, that even if India from now on wins 21 odis on bounce against Pakistan, still they won’t take a head start in Win-loss margin over Pakistan. Pakistan may have been pathetic lately in ODIs but this fact will always comfort them for at least few more years.
Barring from World Cup mishaps and few T20 shocks, Pakistan has always ruled India in cricket. Even in the Champions trophy, Pakistan has got the wood over India. They have won two games and lost one. And most surprisingly with this pathetic and low level Pakistan team they have managed 3 wins over India in last 5 ODI battles between two nations. So clearly the reputations and all the big names take a back seat in an Indo-Pak encounter.
India may be strong with all the set of permutations and combinations on paper but Pakistan has all the ability in the world to dethrone their neighbors from the favoritism malice.
India looks top notch side on the paper with quality batting & decent bowling for a change. On the contrary, Pakistan looks like a haphazard ODI side with no progress in past few years. There is lack of intent, power and stability in the batting. The bowling surprisingly also looks somewhat less penetrative, although they can easily turn the tables with their match winning abilities.
If we analyse Indian #CT17 team, Opening slot is well guarded with the triplet of Rohit, Dhawan & Rahane. Middle order is well balanced with the likes of Kohli, Dhoni, Jadhav and Yuvraj in the mix. Pandya and Jadeja fill the all-rounders spot. With Ashwin & Jadeja, India has two reliable tweakers. Pace bowling stocks also seem to be well covered.
India Probable XI:
Rohit, Dhawan, Kohli, Yuvraj/DK, Dhoni, Jadhav, Pandya, Jadeja/ Ashwin, Shami/Bhuvi, Umesh, Bumrah.
Pakistan on the other hand looks light in the batting. No noticeable power hitter in the team is the major set back. Losing Sharjeel Khan to Corruption and Umar Akmal to lack of fitness has also further weakened the batting prowess of Pakistan. If Pakistan has to score big against India, likes of Malik, Hafeez, Babar Azam and Ahmad Shahzad need to raise their game to the highest level.
Having too many all-rounders in a team is bliss for Pakistan, especially bowling of Hafeez gives Pakistan team much needed balance. Presence of competitive youngsters like Hassan Ali, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan can only lift the confidence of the team. Also Junaid Khan, Wahab Riaz and Mohammed Amir all have their fair share of good memories against India. On 4 June 2017, Pakistan will be hoping for some brilliant bowling performances from these Pacers to dethrone once again India on the Champions Trophy platter.
Pakistan Probable XI:
Azhar, Shahzad, Babar, Hafeez, Malik, Sarfaraz, Imad Wasim, Shadab/ Fahim Ashraf, Amir, Hassan, Junaid Khan/ Wahab Riaz.
To witness this intriguing contest, all the fans around the sphere will be praying for no rain in Birmingham on the match day. In a matter of few hours, cricket hungry fans will be tasting their most favorite thing on the planet. So, all in the readiness – Game On!