India vs Pakistan, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Match Preview: Virat Kohli and Co start favourites against struggling Men in Green

The narrative of a duel between India and Pakistan is such that irrespective of whether it is a World Cup game or not, it creates heroes or villains for life.

Press Trust of India, Jun 16, 2019 08:31:00 IST

Manchester: A cricketing rivalry that transcends beyond the realms of 22-yards will be reignited when India and Pakistan square off in a World Cup encounter that could have fascinating sub-plots with the rain threatening an anti-climactic twist.

India vs Pakistan, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Match Preview: Virat Kohli and Co start favourites against struggling Men in Green

File image of India captain Virat Kohli. Reuters

The escalating cross-border tensions between the two neighbouring nations add to the intrigue with KL Rahul's technique being tested by Mohammed Amir and Wahab Riaz's skills finding more than a match in a colossus like Virat Kohli.

Even if they feel that it's just another game, perhaps all players in their hearts know that this is a special match even if at times the reason in purely non-cricketing.

No wonder Sachin Tendulkar urged Indian batsmen to be more aggressive against a skilful Amir unlike 2017 Champions Trophy while skipper Kohli spoke about having an "ideal mindset" even if the first-timers may find the "occasion intimidating".

The narrative of Indo-Pak duel is such that irrespective of whether it is a World Cup game or not, it creates heroes or villains for life in the eyes of fans.

Ajay Jadeja's assault of Waqar Younis in the 1996 World Cup quarter-final or Salim Malik's 72 off 35 balls in a tough run chase that stunned the 90,000 plus at Eden Gardens in 1987 are the stuff of legends.

People remember these matches while forgetting that both were proven match fixers, who brought the game into disrepute.

Chetan Sharma, despite a World Cup hat-trick and five-for in a Lord's Test, is best remembered for Javed Miandad's last ball six in Sharjah in 1986. He was a far better bowler than that to live with a curse of a full-toss.

Hrishikesh Kanitkar's international career wouldn't possibly deserve a footnote but people still remember him fondly because of his last ball boundary off Saqlain Mushtaq, under fading lights in Dhaka in 1998.

Both defy logic but since when have fans cared about logic?

For them, this is 'The Match' and there's a binary feel to it. Either you win or lose. Everything else is forgotten in due time.

Or else it is difficult to justify why fans are ready to buy over-priced tickets being sold illegally even after factoring in that weather could possibly ruin things and they might lose out on a lot of money.

The exponential increase of media frenzy always hypes it up to an insane level even though all the six World Cup duels that India have won have been pretty one-sided.

The Bengaluru quarter-final in 1996 or Mohali semi-final in 2011 were exciting but it didn't go down to the wire.

But with no bilateral series being played for years now, each match despite being lop-sided has had a certain novelty attached with it.

On the field, Amir's first spell will certainly keep his team interested after a brilliant performance against Australia. Rahul and Rohit, both of whom have minimal footwork at the beginning of an innings, will try to be more assertive.

Kohli has always enjoyed a fabulous track record against Pakistan, having scored a hundred in the 2015 game at Adelaide.

A hundred is due and Indian the captain's sense of occasion makes him a big contender for a three-figure mark.

It will be a test of temperament for the youngsters like Hasan Ali and Shaheen Shah Afridi, who have hardly bowled to the world's best batsman.

Old Trafford looks good for batting even though conditions will aid both seam and swing. India's middle-order will have a role to play in the game. Dinesh Karthik's experience was supposedly the choice of the team management in the last game but that was factoring in a curtailed game.

In case of a full game, Vijay Shankar could be the No 4 if India wants a few overs of seam-up stuff from him or else stick to Karthik, who has more experience of pressure situations.

The seaming conditions and Pakistan's comfort against spinners might prompt Kohli to drop one among Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav and go for Mohammed Shami, who could be devastating in these conditions.

Jasprit Bumrah will have a score to settle against Fakhar Zaman, bowling against whom, the last thing he would want is to overstep. Bhuvneshwar Kumar would like to bowl that probing off-stump line which can keep opposition best bet Babar Azam at bay.

Mohammed Hafeez's years of experience will be up against Hardik Pandya's panache.

Last but not the least, India's 'Man of all seasons' Mahendra Singh Dhoni will "lead" from the back and that will be the team's trump card.

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Updated Date: Jun 16, 2019 08:31:00 IST


World Cup 2019 Points Table

Team p w l nr pts
India 9 7 1 1 15
Australia 9 7 2 0 14
England 9 6 3 0 12
New Zealand 9 5 3 1 11
Pakistan 9 5 3 1 11
Sri Lanka 9 3 4 2 8
South Africa 9 3 5 1 7
Bangladesh 9 3 5 1 7
West Indies 9 2 6 1 5
Afghanistan 9 0 9 0 0





Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
6 Sri Lanka 3462 94
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6420 123
2 India 6807 122
3 New Zealand 4763 113
4 Australia 5470 112
5 South Africa 5193 110
6 Pakistan 4756 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
6 New Zealand 4056 254