ICC Cricket World Cup
India vs Pakistan
Adelaide, 0900 hrs IST
Whenever India plays Pakistan, the patriotism of an entire nation reflects in almost all the citizens of the country. Emotions run high and a lot of pleasantries are exchanged across the border. The excitement increases tenfold especially when this encounter is a world cup affair, which is the case with tomorrow’s match. With Amitabh Bachchan as the guest commentator in Hindi, along with Shohaib Akthar and Kapil Dev there is no dearth of reasons to support your favorite team in this mouth-watering clash taking place on February 15.
It will be the most watched match in the history of the game as it is expected to attract more than a billion viewers, eclipsing the previous record of the 988 million who watched the two neighbouring nations clash in their 2011 World Cup semi-final at Mohali.
Pakistan has never managed to win a single match against India in world cups. Losing to arch-rivals India in all the previous five World Cup clashes has certainly hurt Pakistan and according to their coach Waqar Younis they are determined to break the jinx this time around when the two teams meet on Sunday.
The only player to feature in each of those five Indian wins won’t feature in the match on Sunday. Sachin Tendulkar relished taking on Pakistan particularly in the World Cup as evident from the three Man of the Match awards in those five games. Sunday will be the first time India will play against Pakistan in a World Cup match without the legend. How much of an influence will that have on the final outcome of the match, only time will tell, but there is no denying the fact that Sachin seemed to have found a formula to get the better of the Pakistani bowlers in World Cups, and most of the time they found it difficult to subdue the onslaught of the Little Master.
Both the teams haven’t been in great form recently. Pakistan lost the One Day Series in New Zealand while India failed to register a single victory in the Tri-Series down under. However, Pakistan managed to win both their warm up games, against Bangladesh and England. India on the other hand were blown away against Australia but won quite convincingly against minnows Afghanistan.
There are still clouds over Ajmal’s participation in the world cup after ICC had cleared his bowling action while India’s most experienced bowler Ishant Sharma has been ruled out due to injury.
Players to watch out for:
Mohammad Irfan: Towering at a height of 7 feet, Mohammad Irfan provides Pakistan the luxury of exploiting the conditions to the fullest. The 32-year-old can generate steep bounce from a good length, and has picked up 57 wicket from 40 ODIs so far at an average of 29.92.
Shahid Afridi: Definitely the star player who is now the face of Pakistan cricket. He can hit some lusty blows towards the end of the innings to propel the score to a formidable one and he comes into the tournament in superb form with the bat and ball. Since the start of 2014, Afridi has played 18 matches and shown form in both departments, scoring 432 runs and taking 18 wickets.
Rohit Sharma: India’s hitman at the top of the order has been in prime form recently scoring a century in the first match of the Tri-Series down under and a whirlwind 150 against Afghanistan in the warm ups. If he can negotiate the first few overs with the the new ball initially, then he can provide a rocking start to the team which the middle order can capitalize on. India’s chances will depend a lot on the two time double centurion and his form in the whole tournament.
Virat Kohli : Undoubtedly the star player for India, who hasn’t had a good start to 2015 so far, but he’ll look to put behind the recent debacle and hit the ground running in the first match itself. He plays his game aggressively, bares his emotions loudly in public,yet retains the element of maturity that forms an integral part of any great player. He is one of the big match players, a match winner and a complete batsman who can adapt to different kinds of situations.
The Winning Mantra
If Pakistan have to end their world cup jinx, they have to take advantage of the weak and inexperienced Indian pace attack. Their openers would look to provide a flying start to the team and have enough fire power till the end to smother the bowling in the slog overs as well. On the other hand, the batsmen have to make up for the lackluster bowling and do the job for India if they are to maintain their 100 percent win record against Pakistan in world cups.
In the end it’ll be all about handling pressure on cricket’s biggest stage against the arch rivals and get a good head start to the tournament.
Stats and Trivia:
- Sachin Tendulkar has the record of scoring most runs in India-Pakistan ODIs. He has scored 2,474 runs in 66 innings, just ahead of Inzamam-ul-Haq who has 2,403 runs to his credit in 64 innings.
- India has won 28 out of 69 matches in neutral conditions against Pakistan. Two have ended in No Result with Pakistan registering 39 wins. However, India has lost just one out of six matches in Adelaide to an opposition other than Australia.
- While Saeed Anwar holds the record of most runs in a single innings by a Pakistani batsman against India, Virat kohli’s 183-run knock at the Asia Cup is the best effort by an Indian batsman against the arch-rivals in ODIs.
- Saeed Anwar is the only player to have had a century in an India-Pakistan World Cup match. His knock of 101 came at Centurion in 2003. However his ton went in vain as Pakistan lost the match by six wickets.
- Venkatesh Prasad and Wahab Riaz are the only bowlers to have taken a five-wicket haul in an India-Pakistan World Cup match. While Venkatesh Prasad bagged five for 27 at Manchester in 1999, Wahab Riaz achieved the feat in a losing cause at Mohali in 2011.