India and Pakistan will lock horns for the second time in the ongoing Asia Cup as they take on each other in the second match of the Super Four phase in Dubai on Sunday.
Rohit Sharma and his men emerged victorious by five wickets in the previous encounter during the group stage and Pakistan will be eager to avenge their loss now in this contest.
Can India put on a strong show again?
India qualified for the Super Four having beaten both Pakistan and Hong Kong in their group. They put on a very commanding performance against Pakistan where their bowlers restricted them to a paltry total of 147 first, and then the middle-order put on a superb batting show to chase the target down.
In the middle of all this, though, one concern that stays is the performance of the middle-order. Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli combined to score just 47 runs off the 53 deliveries they faced on the previous game against Pakistan. The trio will need to step up in this match now, especially against the spinners.
Can Pakistan avenge their loss?
Pakistan couldn’t bat well in their group stage match against India but their bowlers put on a spirited performance as they took the match right down to the last over, even with only 147 to defend. They also registered a mammoth 155-run victory against Hong Kong as they bowled them out for just 38 runs after putting on a total of 193/2 on the board.
So Babar Azam and his men will be looking to carry the momentum forward. But they will need to improve the way they start their innings. Babar himself and Rizwan are very slow to start off and that puts a lot of pressure on the middle-order. They will need to score runs at a faster pace if they want to challenge India in this match. Other than that, they already have the bowling attack to keep the Indian batters quiet.
India don’t have much to worry about with 21 wins to their name in the 26 T20i matches they have played since T20 World Cup 2021. They are on a two-game winning run in this tournament too, and they will be looking to make it a hat-trick with another win against Pakistan on Sunday.
Pakistan have played nine T20 international matches since T20 World Cup 2021 and have won seven out of them. Although both of their losses have come this year, they will look to ride on the confidence gained from their massive win against Hong Kong.
Possible Playing XIs
Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh
Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam (c), Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah, Shahnawaz Dahani
Players to Watch
He was rested in the last match, mostly to keep him fresh for this important stage of the tournament, and Pandya will be raring to go once again as India takes on Pakistan.
The last time they locked horns, Pandya delivered a match-winning all-round performance. He claimed bowling figures of 3/26 in his four overs and then went on to smash an unbeaten 33 off just 17 deliveries to power India to a five-wicket win.
The wicketkeeper-batter has already shown good form in this competition. He scored 43 against India and followed that up with an unbeaten 78 off 57 deliveries against Hong Kong.
Rizwan plays the role of an anchor for Pakistan. He looks to bat through and accelerate in the second half of the innings, and India will be in big trouble in this contest if he succeeds to do that.
Pakistan have momentum and confidence in their favour after their humongous 155-run victory against Hong Kong. But India still holds the mental edge having beaten them once already in this competition, and that could play a big role in tense situations during the match. So, India will start as slight favourites to win this contest.