Saturday, February 27, 2016

Old Enemies Clash in a Battle for Asian Supremacy

India Vs Pakistan - Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, 27th February 2016 - Asia Cup Match Preview

It’s that time of the year again!! India and Pakistan will finally meet on the cricket field after their mouth watering clash at the ICC World Cup 2015 at Adelaide when India convincingly defeated Pakistan by 76 runs. In many ways, this match is just a prelude before the bigger battle is fought in Dharamsala next month in the ICC WT20 2016. But then, no Indo-Pak match can be lamely termed as a just another game. There will be Bangladeshi fans flocking to the grounds and the streets in both the countries will be empty as the two Asian giants go head to head today at Dhaka in Bangladesh.

India has been in tremendous T20I form over the past 7 matches having lost just a solitary game against a touring Sri Lankan team on a green track in Pune. They brushed aside Australia 3-0 down under before giving Bangladesh a trashing in the opening game of the Asia Cup 2016. Pakistan on the other hand has been busy with the recently concluded PSL, where most of its stars took part.

It will be a lip smacking encounter between the Pakistani quick bowling and the in-form Indian batting line up. It is one thing taming an inexperienced Australian and Sri Lankan bowling line ups but Rohit, Dhawan and Kohli will not find bullying the returning but prodigious Amir, the giant Irfan and the venom spewing Wahab all that easy on a pitch which is expected to have a greenish tinge and offer help to the pace bowlers.

It might all come down to how the Pakistani line up faces up to the spin of Ashwin and Jadeja although batsmen like Hafeez and Shoaib Malik are probably the most equipped batsmen to play spin. Nehra and Bumrah might also fancy their chances against the brittle Pakistani batting if they can get swing and bounce like they managed against Bangladesh.

This match is very important not only in the context of how this Asia Cup pans out for these two teams but also because it will give a huge psychological edge to the winning team ahead of their clash on the 19th of March in the ICC WT20. Both the captains, Shahid Afridi and MS Dhoni, might insist that this just like another game for them but deep down they are aware of the pressures, the trials and the tribulations that come in the face of an India Pakistan clash.

Key Battles: India vs Pakistan, Asia Cup T20I 2016 at Mirpur in Dhaka

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli Vs Mohammad Irfan and Mohammad Amir

Umer Akmal and Shoaib Malik Vs R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja

Yuvraj Singh Vs Shahid Afridi

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