It's not hard to reason this one but you migh...
After almost a year, India and Pakistan will square off on the cricket pitch. The last time these two arch rivals battled it out was in the 2011 World Cup semi-final, when India emerged victorious by 29 runs. This time, however, Pakistan seems to have the upper hand.
MS Dhoni and co will be hoping to wipe the memory of the last game when India was outplayed by Bangladesh. As a result, there will be a lot of pressure on the Indian camp as they will have to win to have a shot at reaching the finals.
Indian batsmen like Virat Kohli, Gautam Gambhir and Suresh Raina have been in good nick of late, but they will have to bat out of their skins to make up for an unpredictable bowling attack. Besides, all these batsmen will be up against a quality spin attack--the best in the world at the moment.
Even the Indian bowlers will have their hands full with the fairly long Pakistani batting line-up. Irfan Pathan and R Ashwin will have to lead the charge, and focus on getting wickets and not just restricting batsmen.
Meanwhile, just like the Indian top order, the Pakistanis are known to pounce on wide deliveries on flat wickets. So, bowling a wicket-to-wicket line and forcing the batsmen to make mistakes will be the key here for the Indian bowlers.
While the Pakistani team has lacked one steady performer with the bat, there have been flashes of brilliance from the likes of Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Akmal and skipper Misbah-ul-Haq. Besides, the dangerous Shahid Afridi, Asad Shafeeq and young Nasir Jamshed are due for some runs, and an India-Pakistan game might be the incentive they need to get back in form.
Pakistan's bowling, of course, is their strongest suit. Saeed Ajmal and Umar Gul have looked unplayable at times. They will hold the key to run through the strong Indian line-up.
After their shock loss against Bangladesh, India will have to pull out all stops against a Pakistani outfit that clearly has the mental edge. Based on current form, Pakistan is the favorite in this match--unless the Men in Blue can bounce back in style like they've done so often in the recent past. The bookies, however, think India will win, with the Men in Blue at 1.74:1 and a Pakistani win paying off at 2.2:1. Enjoy the game!
-Picture courtesy Reuters-
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