“You become a hero, if you perform in a Pakistan-India match,” that has always been the catchline. It’s exactly like that, ask Javed Miandad who struck a last ball six against India in Sharjah to raise his profile.
The other catch line is: “when you play in an Indo-Pak match you can only come out on top if you have the ability to cope up with the pressure.”
So when the two teams line up for the group match in the Asia Cup in Dubai on Wednesday, there will be certain player-to-player clash which will spice up the already hyped-up and sold-out match. Here are a few of them.
Rohit Sharma vs Mohammad Amir
The rivalry between the Pakistan left-arm pacer and Indian opener is not new. It will be rather renewed in this Asia Cup. Amir knocked down Rohit during a fiery spell at Asia Cup T20 in Bangladesh in 2016, Amir got rid of Rohit, Rahane and Raina to derail India. After the game, Rohit declared Amir was an “ordinary bowler” and had the best of Pakistani pacer in the opening game of the Champions Trophy in Birmingham last year.
Rohit made a polished 91 in a match where Amir went wicketless but when the crunch game Amir had the last laugh, dislodging Rohit in the first over at The Oval to trigger a collapse which ended in Pakistan’s biggest-ever win of 180 runs over India.
So brace yourself for another clash of the two entertainers.
Fakhar Zaman vs Jasprit Bumrah
Fakhar had become the “Fakhar” of Pakistan in the last one year. He made his debut in the Champions trophy and since then has made the opening position his stronghold. Pakistan have got off to a cracking starts, it has been courtesy Fakhar’s aggressive batting. He became the first Pakistani batsmen to knock a double hundred which came against Zimbabwe in July.
When Fakhar will be facing the first delivery from Bumrah both will have the memory of a no-ball which gave a big relief to the Pakistani and a heartbreak to the Indian seamer. Fakhar was three when it happened, chased it to 114 which formed the basis of Pakistan’s 348 run total. Bumrah may have made more mistakes but this was unforgivable as India suffered their heaviest defeat of 180 against Pakistan.
Babar Zaman vs Yuzvendra Chahal
Babar Azam is Pakistan’s most consistent batsman when it comes of ODIs but he has a weakness against spinners. That may not have been highlighted on the white ball. So it will be a big test of Babar when he comes up against the Indian leg-spinner who has been in the limelight of India’s six of the last seven series wins.
So watch out for this.
Hardik Pandya vs Shadab Khan
The Pakistani leg-spinner is known for generating prodigious turn. He takes wickets and is very economical. His wrong’un is a big challenge for batsmen. It would be interesting to watch the strategy teenager Shadab deploys against India’s hard-hitting batsman Pandya. Pandya was at his best against Shadab, clotting him for huge sixes in his fighting half-century which ended in a bitter run out.
So in the heat of Dubai, Pandya and Shadab will have a heated tussle on the field.
Sarfraz Ahmed vs Kuldeep Yadav
Sarfraz Ahmed sweeps well and that could one of the main weapons against the wily spin of Kuldeep Yadav. Yadav has done well since his arrival at the international scene, having taken 43 wickets in 16 one-day internationals. Yadav and Chahal have made a deadly spin pair for India, so they will pose lots of trouble for Pakistan and other teams in the Asia Cup.