Pakistan’s Babar Azam leads his team against India’s formidable batting lineup in Asia Cup 2023. Can Pakistan’s top-tier bowling attack halt Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and company?
The cricket world is abuzz as the world’s top cricket team, Pakistan, and their archrivals India are set to clash on the field for the first time in a one-day international (ODI) since the 2019 World Cup. This highly anticipated encounter is part of the Asia Cup 2023 and will take place at the Pallekele Cricket Stadium in Sri Lanka.
Pakistan, recently elevated to the number one spot in the International Cricket Council (ICC) world rankings, aims to conquer their traditional rivals with their formidable bowling attack. Meanwhile, India is banking on its potent batting lineup, which includes captain Rohit Sharma, star batsman Virat Kohli, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, and Hardik Pandya.
The clash is expected to pit Pakistan’s pace, led by captain Babar Azam, against India’s powerful batting lineup under Rohit Sharma’s leadership. However, there’s a twist in the tale, as the game’s outcome might be influenced by the weather conditions. There is a forecast for rain over the weekend in Kandy, Sri Lanka, which could disrupt the match.
Pakistan enters this match with momentum following a convincing victory in their Asia Cup opener against Nepal in Multan. Babar Azam, who scored a match-winning 151 against Nepal, expressed their focus on the upcoming matches and their excitement about the India-Pakistan clash.
On the other hand, India’s captain Rohit Sharma remains confident in his team’s experienced batsmen, showing no fear of Pakistan’s fast bowlers. Pakistan boasts one of the world’s best pace attacks, featuring Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah, and Haris Rauf, all of whom performed well in the tournament’s opener.
Rohit Sharma’s team is set to face Pakistan in their opening match of the tournament, the first of potentially three clashes between the fierce rivals in Sri Lanka. While Rohit acknowledged Pakistan’s formidable bowlers, he emphasized that his team was ready for the challenge, relying on their years of experience playing against Pakistan.
India’s pace ace, Jasprit Bumrah, has returned to the team’s lineup after recovering from an injury and joins fellow quicks Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj. Rohit downplayed any comparison between the bowlers of the two teams, acknowledging the quality of both sets of bowlers.
In preparation for this showdown, Rohit Sharma spoke highly of Pakistan’s recent performances in T20 and 50-over formats, emphasizing that it would be a significant challenge for his team. He assured that India had prepared thoroughly and was ready to execute their game plan.
It’s worth noting that these two neighboring cricketing nations only face each other in international tournaments due to long-standing political tensions. While India has dominated the limited-overs rivalry in the past decade, Babar Azam’s Pakistan has secured a few T20 victories in recent years.
The anticipated playing XI for both teams are as follows:
- Babar Azam (captain)
- Shadab Khan (vice-captain)
- Fakhar Zaman
- Salman Ali Agha
- Iftikhar Ahmed
- Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper)
- Mohammad Nawaz
- Naseem Shah
- Shaheen Shah Afridi
- Haris Rauf
- Rohit Sharma (captain)
- Shubman Gill
- Virat Kohli
- Shreyas Iyer
- Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper)
- Hardik Pandya
- Ravindra Jadeja
- Shardul Thakur/Mohammed Shami
- Kuldeep Yadav
- Mohammed Siraj
- Jasprit Bumrah