So if you thought that this India Vs Pakistan match is a dead rubber considering Pakistan is already out of the tournament and India are through to the semis, think again. This is the most fancied rivarly the game of cricket has had and no game could go without its shares of eye-balls, bigger than that of any other sport in the history of earth.
Misbah-ul-Haq has already equated the game to the final, only echoing the millions of fans back in Pakistan who would forgive them to bow out even before the business stages of the tournament, if they manage to win this one, the one that the world is thinking to be a dead rubber. And no matter what the successful Indian skipper MS Dhoni says of the game, he knows that if loses this, there would be a certain faction in his own country who would not even take the Champions Trophy 2013 victory as consolation.
The recent form goes to India but if you go a little back, just at the beginning of 2013, when Pakistan toured India for three ODI’s, they beat the hosts 2-1 and opened up many a holes in the famed Indian batting line-up. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have done fabulously well, having stitched two century opening stands at a run-rate of better than a run-a-ball but they would all know what Mohammad Irfan and Junaid Khan can do. The last time these bowlers breathed fire, India were struggling at 29/5 before Dhoni came and rescued them with a fighting 100, only to end in a losing cause.
India’s batting has done well but it can go all so wrong in case they lose a few early wickets because unlike the Australia attack, against which India came back pretty well in one of their practice games, this Pakistan bowling attack will not let them breathe easy. They will come back hard after every blow and Wahab Riaz and Saeed Ajmal would do their best to continue the good job done by the new ball seam bowlers.
The problem for Pakistan would be their batting. None of their batsmen, except for Misbah, have raised the hands when in trouble and someone will have to raise his hand if they want to win the game today. India’s bowling on the other hand is known to be weaker of the two but the bowlers have done well as a group. India would except another day when the seamers would do well and the spinners support them as much as possible.
The pitch and weather conditions look similar to what we have seen in Birmingham. Its a good batting wicket which will turn slow as the day progresses. There are chances of rain but we all hope the rain gods stay away for the day.
Pakistan will still feel the pinch of the loss they suffered at Mohali in the World Cup 2011 semi-final. This is their chance of redemption, even if it would not take them any further in the tournament. For India though the win will be about winning against Pakistan and also making sure they carry the winning momentum into the semi-final stages.
- Never a dead rubber when it’s India v Pakistan (ibnlive.in.com)
- India play Pakistan in a high intensity dead rubber (cricketexclusive.com)
- Love thy neighbour?! Forget it! It’s an Indo-Pak match after all (collectabillia.wordpress.com)