India and Pakistan will meet again on 4th September to kick start their super 4 campaign. The last time two rival nations met was a week ago on Sunday when the Men in Blue emerged victorious in a close match. In what was an evenly poised match, Hardik Pandya proved to be the deciding factor with his quickfire 33 off 17 balls. In a week, the tables have turned, and it’s Babar Azam and his men who are under pressure and looking to avenge their defeat.
Although, a lot has changed in a week. India suffered a blow in the form of Ravindra Jadeja. Virat Kohli is among the runs, whereas, on the other hand, Babar Azam is struggling for runs, but his bowlers are riding high on confidence. Thus, a great match is guaranteed, and the article will compare each department of both teams and the player’s form to opine a winner.
Comparing the opening pair of both the teams, Pakistan’s opening duo of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan are more likely to cause damage to the Indian team than Rohit Sharma and Kl Rahul to Pakistan. KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma are struggling for runs, especially Rahul, who got out for a golden duck against Pakistan. Babar Azam has also struggled for runs and has scored just 19 runs in the Asia Cup 2022, but given the overall form he is in, it won’t take him long enough to get out of his dry spell.
Mohammad Rizwan is in hot form and is the tournament’s leading run-scorer. Apart from scoring runs, he has adapted to the situation in both group stage matches and batted with maturity. Rizwan has amassed 121 runs, including a half-century against Hong Kong.
India – 0 Pakistan – 1
Middle order batters
The Men in Blue level the score if we compare the middle order line-up of both teams. India have Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, and Hardik Pandya, who are in great touch. In the last outing against Pakistan, Kohli amassed an unhurried 35, and Surya failed with the bat. But looking at their strokeplay against Hong Kong, their confidence would be on a new high when they face the Men in Green, which isn’t good news for the Pakistani bowlers. Hardik Pandya, India’s star player against Pakistan, needs no introduction. It would be fair to say that there is no match for Pandya in the Pakistani line-up.
On the other hand, the Pakistani middle order is a big concern for the team. Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, and Shadab Khan collectively amassed 50 runs against India, one of the big reasons Pakistan got restricted to 147. Against Hong Kong, Zaman scored a half-century, and Khushdil too was among runs, but the rest remained untested. Thus, even as pointed out by former Pakistani skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq, an untested middle-order is Pakistan’s biggest concern.
India – 1 Pakistan – 1
India suffered a big blow as Ravindra Jadeja was ruled out of the Asia Cup due to a knee injury, weakening India’s all-around prowess. Axar Patel replaced the CSK star. Despite Jadeja out, a Pandya- Patel combo, or even if Hooda gets his opportunity, he and Pandya will inflict more damage in the match than Pakistani all-rounder Shadab Khan. India have two all-rounders contributing to all departments, whereas Pakistan have just Shadab doing the batting and bowling for them. He also went wicketless against India last time.
India – 2 Pakistan -1
In the previous match, Indian bowlers didn’t let the team feel Jasprit Bumrah’s absence, whereas Pakistan heavily missed Shaheen Afridi. Although the tables have turned since Indian seamers Arshdeep Singh and Avesh Khan were at their worst against a struggling Hong Kong. They leaked runs and are low on confidence. Meanwhile, the Pakistani bowlers, be the pacers or spinners, were ruthless against Hong Kong as they dismissed them for the lowest score in the tournament’s history (38).
India – 2 Pakistan- 2
Better team under pressure?
Looking at head-to-head records of both the teams, Pakistan are ahead of India, but as history suggests, the Men in Blue end up as a better team in high-pressure ICC events. Thus, it is fair to say that absorbing pressure is a big deciding factor in crucial stages of a match, and India handle it better than Pakistan. Thus, India are the favorites to win against Pakistan.
India – 3 Pakistan – 2