The wait for an India-Pakistan clash is finally over, with the two Asian giants ready for a face-off at the Asia Cup on Wednesday. Both teams are strong which, to an extent, justifies the hype about the big clash. India were blown away by Pakistan in their last 50-over clash at the ICC Champions Trophy final in England.
India are playing without their regular skipper, Virat Kohli, in this Asia Cup who averages 45.90 against Pakistan in ODIs. Kohli averages 124.83 this year in ODIs. His absence will provide chances to players like Ambati Rayudu and Manish Pandey to cement their place in the side.
It will be intriguing to see what comes out on top — India’s batting or Pakistan’s bowling, though both teams appear evenly matched on paper.
Let’s look at few key stats before the mother of all clashes begins.
Only Afghanistan spinners have taken wickets with better strike-rate than Indian spinners in the last one year in ODIs. Both Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have been India’s main weapons in the middle overs in the past few months or so. Not surprisingly, both spinners are on the list of top-10 highest wicket-takers in the last one year in ODIs. They were the difference in India’s victory against Hong Kong on Tuesday.
Apart from spinners, it will be a clash between two of the world’s best pacers in the last two years. Both have been tremendous in their own ways. Both Hasan Ali and Jasprit Bumrah bowl well with the old ball, with Bumrah also good with opening the attack. Let’s see who comes out on top this Wednesday.
India have used eight different players at No 4 since ICC Champions Trophy 2017 which is the second most by any team. They have to solve the riddle as soon as possible by giving maximum chances to a particular player. Skipper Rohit Sharma has quite a few contenders for the No 4 spot and by the end of the series, India should have an idea about who will be their No 4 going forward.
It will also be a battle of captains and the numbers suggest that Rohit Sharma performs exceedingly well as a captain than as a player while Sarfraz Ahmed’s average as a captain is lesser as a player in ODIs.
India’s win/loss ratio against Pakistan at neutral venues in ODIs is the joint worst for them against any team. They have won 30 out of 72 matches against them at neutral venues.
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The meeting, which was conducted virtually, welcomed Mongolia and Tajikistan as the 22nd and 23rd members of the Asia region, while Switzerland is Europe's 35th member, with the ICC now comprising 106 members in total, including 94 associates.
Of the 65 players identified, 45 players have been withheld from further participation till resolving of the disputes, the CAB said in a statement.
Ravindra Jadeja (75 off 146 balls) also played his part to perfection during the 127-run fifth wicket stand with Rahul after the top-order failed to make optimal use of proper game time.