India in must-win situation against Pakistan

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Published: Saturday, March 17, 2012, 16:51 [IST]
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Do-or-die for India against Pakistan

Mirpur, Mar 17: Shocked by the upset defeat against underdogs Bangladesh, Team India will be under immense pressure when they take on arch-rivals Pakistan in their next league match in the Asia Cup with bowling being the main concern.

The shocking defeat against Bangladesh has jeopardized India's chances of qualifying to the finals as they take on an in-form Pakistan side who have already qualified for the finals after defeating Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

On Friday, India's iconic batsman Sachin Tendulkar reached the historic feat scoring hundred international centuries. Despite reaching the milestone India suffered a crushing defeat against Bangladesh which has surely left the dressing room disappointed.

India's last meeting with their bitter rivals came almost a year ago in the semi-finals of World Cup with India on top. India were battered during the tour of Australia but that won't derail their confidence against bitter foes Pakistan. India-Pakistan has always promised to be a nail-biting thriller.

After a year of struggle and pain, India's Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar has managed to score hundred centuries in cricket's history, the legendary batsman may now be mentally more relaxed which could allow him to play more freely.

India's batting may have struggled on the bouncy pitches of Australia but they faired well during the Asia Cup. While Tendulkar has a good track record against Pakistan and will be determined to make an impact tomorrow. The main concern for MS Dhoni would be his bowling deparment which has been below par.

Consistency has been missing among the Indian bowlers, mainly the pace attack including Praveen Kumar, Irfan Pathan and Vinay Kumar. Ashok Dinda who was included in the squad against Bangladesh couldn't make an impact while spinners R Ashwin and Ravindra Jdaeja look shaky.

Despite the inconsistency shown by his bowlers, skipper MS Dhoni said the bowlers were young and would learn from their experiences and mistakes.

India's top order batsman have got the runs, but the continuous failure of middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma who did not score much against Bangladesh could lose his place in the team.

Another middle-order batsman Manoj Tiwary, who did not feature in any match during the tri-series in Australia, may be considered as replacement for out-of-form Rohit Sharma.

Dinda, who replaced pacer Vinay Kumar against Bangladesh, was pretty expensive during his second spell but could be retained in case Vinay Kumar is still injured.

Meanwhile, Pakistan also have a few problems with consistency especially with their batsmen.

Despite winning both their matches, batting seems to be a worry at the top order which needs to be sorted out.

Opener Mohammad Hafeez has been in good touch but his opening partner Nasir Jamshed needs to be more consistent. Veteran batsman Younis Khan failed to shine during the tournament.

Similar to India's batting, Pakistani bowlers have been impressive with pacers Umar Gul and Aizaz Cheema among the wickets. Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal has also been impressive with his Doosra's and Theesra's.

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq will be confident ahead of the tasks against India as India are in a must-win situation to stay in the tournament.

In order to win the tournament, Misbah has urged his batsmen to show more consistency.

The two sub-continent giants will clash at the Sher e Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Sunday, March 18.


Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Younis Khan, Umar Akmal, Hammad Azam, Asad Shafiq, Shahid Afridi, Azhar Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Umar Gul, Aizaz Cheema, Wahab Riaz.

India: MS Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper), Virat Kohli (vice-captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Manoj Tiwary, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, Vinay Kumar, Rahul Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan, Ashok Dinda.

Umpires: Steve Davis (Australia) and Ian Gould (England)

Third Umpire: Sharfuddoula (Bangladesh)

Match Referee: David Boon (Australia)


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