Deadline: June 16, 2019 at 3 PM IST
Venue: Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester
Pitch and conditions
Precipitation scales up from 24% at 9 AM to 65% at 6 PM. What are the chances of a washout? You know the answer. Atheist have no option but to think positive, but the believers can pray to their almighties. The world needs a miracle on Sunday, for it is the biggest and the most awaited match of the 2019 World Cup.
This will be the first game of the tournament at Manchester. Going by the hype of the contest, the curators have made a pitch that will equally assist the batsmen and bowlers. The overcast conditions are anyway going to make batsmen’s lives difficult.
Probable XI for India: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Vijay Shankar/Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav/Mohammad Shami
Probable XI for Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Hairs Sohail/Asif Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed (c & wk), Shoaib Malik, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Shaheen Afridi/Shadab Khan
NOTE: Pick your fantasy cricket team wisely.
Impeccable India vs Mercurial Pakistan
You never know which Pakistan team will show up: the one that defeated the top favourites England or the one that squandered against West Indies and Australia. One thing is for sure: when they meet India in a World Cup, they fail miserably and TVs get smashed into pieces back home. They have locked horns with India six times and not once have they managed to taste success.
Do Pakistan even have a chance to change the trend? Yes, by all means.
When Pakistan met India in the 2017 Champions Trophy in the league stages, they lost by a massive margin. When they met India in the final, they reversed the outcome. Neither of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, or Virat Kohli could find their feet. Mohammad Amir had them trapped in his swing and pace. There will be no Dhawan on Sunday, but if Amir manage to dismiss Rohit and Kohli inside 10 overs, the match will be half won.
If there is one aspect that will decide the fate of the match, it is fielding. Pakistan have been dropping dollies and India have been – for the want of better vocabulary – perfect, so much so that when India are fielding there is no certain gap on the field, that it seems there are 22 fielders. If anything, Pakistan will have to field out of their skin to match up to India’s standards.
Be that as it may. What if the match is reduced to 20 overs each? Do Pakistan have a chance then? No, they haven’t won against India in World T20 either. Odds, history, and skills are all against them. Only luck or India’s mistakes will get them the long eluded victory.
All said and done, in case the match is abandoned, it will be the first time in the history of World Cup that Pakistan will gain a point against India.