India vs Pakistan Asia Cup Preview

India vs Pakistan Asia Cup Preview

India's Jasprit Bumrah during the ICC Champions Trophy, semi-final match at Edgbaston, Birmingham.

Team India continue their Asia Cup journey with another clash against Pakistan in Colombo in the Super 4’s. The Men in Blue breezed past Nepal in their final Group A outing, with Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill lacing half-centuries, but a tougher test awaits against Babar Azam’s men, who have won nine of their last ten completed ODIs in 2023.

All eyes will be on the battle between the Indian top-order and Pakistani pace trio in this highly-anticipated encounter, which could go a long way in deciding the game’s fate. Shaheen Afridi exposed India’s recurring weakness against left-arm pace in their previous meeting in the group stages, and the likes of Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, and Virat Kohli will be desperate to produce an improved display ahead of the World Cup.

Another dilemma for the Men in Blue ahead of this matchup is who to select as the wicket-keeper at number five, Ishan Kishan or KL Rahul. The young left-hander impressed in his new-found middle-order role against Pakistan last week, scoring his fourth consecutive half-century in ODIs to rescue India from a tricky situation. However, the incumbent keeper might have to make way for the senior statesman, KL Rahul, who returns from a prolonged injury absence and holds a terrific ODI record at number five since 2020, averaging 61 at a strike rate of 99.

Player to watch out for: Jasprit Bumrah

Jasprit Bumrah returns to the India camp after missing the Nepal fixture due to personal reasons, and the pacer will be desperate to put some miles under his belt in the lead-up to the ODI World Cup. Bumrah returned to action from injury in the T20I series against Ireland but has yet to bowl ten overs in an ODI since July 2022.

Weather Conditions

The weather gods have not been kind throughout the 2023 Asia Cup, with the group fixture between India and Pakistan washed out after just one inning, and the showers could persist on Sunday with a 90% chance of rain. However, a reserve day is in place for this encounter, with the game set to continue on Monday from where it left off.

Team News

Jasprit Bumrah is likely to replace Mohammed Shami in the line-up after missing the Nepal game, while KL Rahul could replace Ishan Kishan in the side at number five after passing his fitness test at the NCA.

Pakistan, meanwhile, are expected to go with the same XI that beat Bangladesh on Wednesday, with Babar Azam’s men looking to continue their fine run of form in the format in 2023.

Probable XI’s

India: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav

Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Mohammed Rizwan, Salman Ali Agha, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf