An India vs Pakistan clash is easily the most intense rivalry in World Cricket — every time there is an India-Pakistan encounter, emotions go flying in both the nations and there is unbridled passion both on the field and off it among fans. Like often, it is again going to be a contest between Pakistan's lethal pace attack and India's batting masterclass.
While the match is about the skill sets of players, much of it is played in the mind and the players who hold their nerve better emerge triumphant in the end of this high-octane clash. There are interesting subplots in the match and how they play out could well determine the eventual result of the match. With less than 24 hours for the marquee clash to begin, we take a look at the main rivalries that might take the centre stage as the arch rivals lock horns on June 16 at Old trafford in Manchester.
Mohammed Amir vs Rohit Sharma
“He is just a normal bowler, on that given day if he is good, he is good. It is not as if he turns up and blows everyone away,” Rohit Sharma had said before India met Pakistan in the 2016 Asia Cup. Well, Amir trundled up and dismissed Rohit in that match and then accounted for him in the finals of the Champions Trophy in 2017. Although, before the start of this mega event, Amir wasn't in best of touch, but he has bounced back strongly to emerge as the highest-wicket take in the tournament so far. The battle will certainly be one to watch out in more ways than one, as the India opener, Rohit Sharma has scored the most runs for India.
Mohammad Amir vs Virat Kohli
As world number 1 batter and Indian skipper Virat Kohli prepares to face in-form Mohammad Amir, revenge might be the only word playing on his mind. The last time India and Pakistan played a one-day international match in an ICC tournament, Amir, who has taken 10 wickets in the three matches he has played so far, had troubled Kohli a fair deal with his swingers and short deliveries and the master batsman had perished for just 5 runs. It was the final of the 2017 ICC Champions trophy which India had eventually lost. Amir would be looking to stage a repeat of that feat at Old Trafford on June 16, but he would be mindful that Kohli hardly ever repeats his mistakes.
Jasprit Bumrah vs Fakhar Zaman
The India speedster Jasprit Bumrah has been the man of the hour in almost every match India has played in last year and a half. His ability to extract bounce even on docile tracks makes him look different from others. To add cherry to the cake, he also has the ability to swing the new ball and it has been seen that Fakhar Zaman has struggled against the away swinger in England.However, he did find form against England but hasn't been amongst runs post that.
Even then, he has been Pakistan’s gun player in limited overs cricket in the past one last year.One of the turning points in that famous India-Pakistan final at the Oval in 2017 was when Jasprit Bumrah dismissed Fakhar Zaman early in the piece, but had overstepped. Zaman went on to slam a century and took the match away from India.
The left-hander has only gone from strength from strength ever since his debut and is one of the key cogs for Pakistan.In 39 matches, Zaman has peeled off 1700 runs at a staggering average of 48.57 and with a strike rate of 98.15.However, Bumrah is now a Test bowler for India and was mighty impressive in the just-concluded Test series against England. There is a visible change in his attitude and he now looks to set batsmen up and then goes for the kill.
India need to get rid of Fakhar early if they want to control the innings and Bumrah would ideally want to set the record straight.
Kuldeep Yadav vs Babar Azam
It is no secret that Babar Azam loves the Indian bowling attack and scores runs for fun against the bowling attack. Interestingly, in Pakistan's batting line up, Babar and Hafeez are only two batsmen who have looked good against spin. In the tournament, Babar has scored 115 runs at an average of 38.33.
However, he will have to face the mystery of Kuldeep Yadav, who has been India’s trump card over the past 15 months. Babar is a terrific player of spin, but Kuldeep with his variations can be a handful. It should be one of the contests to be watched out for.