Eden Gardens keenly awaits Indo-Pak clash

Published: Wednesday, December 24, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

Kolkata: Having suffered almost identical losses in their opening fixtures against Sri Lanka, sub-continental giants India and Pakistan battle it out at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday to stay afloat in the Kenstar Asian 'A' Teams' cricket tournament.

Any Indo-Pak cricket clash is bound to evoke a lot of interest in both countries, and despite being only a match between the 'A' sides, the significance is heightened by the fact that the traditional rivals are meeting on Indian soil after a long gap of about four years and 10 months.

The tournament is being looked upon as a precursor to resuming bilateral cricketing ties between the two countries, and in that respect the success of the tri-series is vital to usher in more mouth-watering contests of bat and ball between the two sides.

The match on Thursday is likely to be closely contested with both teams desperately looking for their first win in the tournament.

While India went down to Sri Lanka by seven wickets in the tournament lung-opener on Monday after scoring 300, Pakistan, who got the same total as India, suffered a five-wicket loss against the islanders on Wednesday.

Though pre-tournament analysis had dubbed the tournament as a duel between the strong Indian batting line-up and Pakistan's blooming fast bowlers, the speedsters from across the border failed to deliver the goods on Wednesday coming up with erratic stuff.

Only Abdur Rouf Khan was the notable exception, who bowled with variety and pace.

A worrying factor for Pakistan is that Muhammad Irshad, considered the quickest of the seamers on display, was yet to recover from a thigh strain and would miss Thursday match.

''This wicket is a paradise for the batsmen. The bowlers, particularly the quicks, can't expect much help,'' Pakistan coach A H Zaidi said, underlining the problems faced by his team in the pace department.

''We will try to put a target of more than 300 if we bat first,'' he said.

Indian skipper Hemang Badani, however, felt that 280 could be a safe score if the bowlers did their job properly. ''In the last two matches, the bowlers have faltered. If the bowlers can do their assigned task, and get good backing from the fielders, 280-290 will look good,'' he said.

India, on the other hand, would rely on its star-studded batting line-up boasting the likes of skipper Hemang Badani, Sanjay Bangar, Dinesh Mongia, Mohammed Kaif, Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir to put it across their opponents.

Save Gambhir, who struck a fine hundred, and Kaif, who got a well-made 71, the others had failed to fire from their blade against the Lankans and would be itching to be among runs on Thursday.

Pacers Munaf Patel, Bangar and Amit Bhandari all got a fair amount of stick against Sri Lanka, and with the track playing docile, the going may again be a bit tough for the quicks.

Arnold leads another successful run chase

Write Comments