Saturday, June 3, 2017

India Face Pakistan in CT17 Opener at Edgbaston - Match Preview

India Vs Pakistan, Edgbaston - ICC Champions Trophy 2017; Match Preview

India and Pakistan, the bitter arch rivals will take on each other to start their campaigns in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017.

For once the roles have reversed for the Asian giants, what with Pakistan having a settled coach in Mickey Arthur while India grappling with how tough a disciplinarian Anil Kumble is being, with the Indian superstars.

As India continue to refuse to play Pakistan outside of ICC tournaments, this clash comes as a relief for cricket fans from both sides of the border.

Edgbaston, which will host the crucial tie has had iffy weather conditions lately; with the Australia - New Zealand match having already suffered a washed out yesterday. But the pitch is a very good one for batting with scores in excess of 300 a regularity at this ground in the recent matches.

Both India and Pakistan have a strong batting line up but the difference is that this time, India have a bowling attack that matches that of Pakistan. With Umesh, Bhuvi and Shami during on all cylinders and Ashwin and Jadeja manning the spin department Indian bowling looks to be in a pink of health.

Their batting however is a concern this time with Rohit, Kohli, Dhawan and Yuvraj all having a mediocre IPL which ended just a few weeks ago. Dinesh Karthik looked good in the warm up match and he might play over Yuvraj. Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya will provide the finishing along with the evergreen Dhoni.

Pakistan batting will depend on Hafeez and Shoaib Malik both of whom love playing against India. They also have the talented Babar Azam and explosive Ahmed Shehzad in their ranks. Sarfaraz provides late hitting along with a couple of new players who stole the limelight in the warm up match against Bangladesh.

Amir, Junaid, Wahab and rookie Shadab Khan lend a menacing look to the Pakistani bowling attack and they will be keen to unsettle a tentative looking Indian batting line up.

Key Battles:

Virat Kohli Vs Mohammad Amir
Shoaib Malik and Hafeez Vs Ashwin and Jadeja

India vs Pakistan is a contest which is a money milking cow for the ICC and Star Sports has been promoting this match as #SabseBadaMoh. I just hope that the English weather holds up and we are treated to a spectacle by both India and Pakistan. One thing is for sure though, the ground will be packed, there will be noise, there will be passion in the air and a silent prayer on the lips of the millions who will witness this encounter!