It’s June 16. A date every cricket fan has anxiously been waiting for. It’s Match 22, and India is all set to take on Pakistan at Old Trafford in Manchester. As fans from both sides of the border get excited, it’s fair to say it’s not just another cricket match.
Both teams are coming off contrasting results in their previous game. While India’s match against New Zealand was washed out, Pakistan were defeated by Australia on Wednesday.
After winning the first two games in convincing fashion, India were eager to take the field against the Kiwis who had won three out of their three matches, but the rain had the last laugh. India’s major concern is Dhawan’s injury as the batting order will be reshuffled.
For Pakistan, after an abandoned game against Asian rivals Sri Lanka, they played Australia at Taunton. Australia got off to a flier as Finch and Warner added 146 for the first wicket but Amir’s five-wicket haul brought them back into the game. Wickets kept falling at regular intervals and no batsman converted their start into a big innings as the Men in Green fell short by 41 runs.
The pressure of playing against India is like no other match and the 1992 champions will look to get their first win against them in world cup history.
Pakistan will look to bat first and put runs on the board. The conditions are expected to be cloudy, so India will be happy to bowl first and exploit the natural conditions.
India: With Dhawan’s injury, KL Rahul will be the opener and Shankar or Vijay Shankar may take the No. 4 spot, but the team may prefer the all-rounder considering the bowling option he provides. The rest of the line-up will most probably remain the same.
Predicted XI: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.
Pakistan: Shoaib Malik hasn’t been impressive and it will be interesting to see if the management drops him or opts for his experience in this high-voltage clash. Shadab Khan was dropped in the previous game but will replace Hasan Ali who has picked only one wicket in the 24 overs he bowled so far.