Arch-rivals India and Pakistan are set to clash in the battle of heavyweights in what is arguably the greatest and fiercest rivalries in the history of any sport. Rohit Sharma-led Indian team survived a brutal blow in the hands of minnows Hong Kong but in-form Pakistan would not give any scope of complacency when they meet each other yet again.
The Champions Trophy final is still fresh in the minds of Indian cricket fans as it was a tough defeat to gulp, and one of the main reasons behind the defeat was the lost key battles on the field.
India had a tough outing against Hong Kong Tuesday and that too in soaring temperatures of above 40 degree Celsius. While Pakistan have had a good rest and would be raring to go as they saw the Men in Blue struggle against the weakest side in the six-nation tournament.
However, when India and Pakistan clash – all the history, stats, facts and numbers go out of the window and what prevails is pure concentration, passion and willingness to grind out a win.
On that note let us take a look at some of the key battles that could shape up India vs Pakistan mega clash in the Asia Cup 2018:
Indian openers vs Pakistan’s pace battery:
Virat Kohli is a big miss without a doubt, and if someone has to fill the boots of arguably the greatest ODI batsman of this generation, and maybe of all time, the openers need to click. Shikhar Dhawan displayed a dominant performance against Hong Kong, however the pedigree of Pakistani seam bowlers in comparison with the minnows is hell and heaven difference. Rohit Sharma, who was left out of the India’s tour of England, is making a mini-comeback into the side and that too as a skipper will have to take the charge against the pace attack of the neighbouring nation. Rohit is one of the best ODI batsmen in the world, his consistency is however a major talking point. But, is Rohit clicks then it would be a long day for the Pakistan bowlers.
Pakistan’s batsmen vs Indian spin duo:
The spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal has been wreaking havoc in the shorter format of the game, especially in the sub-continent conditions. The pitch at the Dubai International Stadium has not offered much for the spinners, however the duo did enough against Hong Kong to assure that they will be a force to reckon in the mega clash of India vs Pakistan. As a pair, Yuzi-Kuldeep partnership have dismantled batting line-ups in the recent times, their variety and cleverness have been one of the most dominating factors in bamboozling well-set batters. Regular skipper Virat Kohli have relied on them for long, and Rohit Sharma used them to perfection in the Nidahas Trophy 2018, which India won.
However, they face stern challenge in Shoaib Malik and Sarfaraz Ahmed, who are excellent customers of spin bowling. Malik especially has the knack to demoralise spinners with his quality. Both are brilliant when coming down the pitch and that could be one of the factors that could decide this fascinating contest. Even Fakhar Zaman is a vital player for Pakistan and his demolition of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja during the last India-Pakistan clash is still fresh in the memories of cricketing fans.
India vs Pakistan clash is massive, so massive that Sachin Tendulkar spent 12 sleepless night to the build-up of Ind-Pak clash in the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup group stage match. He reverted back with a brilliant 98. But not many can handle the pressure of India vs Pakistan battle. A defeat could crush the morale of the players, coaching staff, and even the fans, whereas a victory could even lift a dead man alive.
Billions of eyeballs are on the players, everyone praying for the side they support, praising the good moves and criticising every move that does not give the best result. Sometimes the pressure takes a toll on the players – the boos, cheers, prayers are sometimes tough to handle in such a huge match.
And India vs Pakistan clash in the Asia Cup 2018 will be probably won by the team that handles the pressure better. Who will rise on the big pressure occasion? Who will be the face of the team? Who will be able to turn the pressure into motivation?
For all that let us wait few more hours for the gigantic clash between India and Pakistan.