Predicting India's World Cup clash with arch-rivals Pakistan
If ticket prices are the barometer then India vs Pakistan is the most awaited match of the round robin league format of the 2019 Cricket World Cup. The gold tickets were on resale for as high as €2000. The adrenaline is shooting up, millions will be glued to TV sets on this Sunday waiting for favorable result in both India and Pakistan.
World Cup history
"Mauka" advertisement in 2011 and 2015 world cup symbolizes India's dominance over Pakistan in the World Cup. They hold the edge, 7-0.
This is, notwithstanding, the overall better record held by Pakistan, 73-54 in ODIs.
Surprisingly in 1975, 1979, 1983 and 1987 editions, India and Pakistan did not play each other.
In 1992, India made only 216 and Pakistan failed to chase that total owing to their nerves.
1996 in Bangalore will be remembered for Ajay Jadeja's blitzkrieg on Waqar Younis. Another highlight was the infamous send-off given to Aamer Sohail by Venkatesh Prasad
Prasad was at the forefront in 1999 as well, contributing in dismissing Pakistan for a total of 180.
Sachin Tendulkar's 98 was the defining factor in the 2003 World Cup clash as India cruised to a victory.
2011, the golden year for Indian team saw them defeating Pakistan in semifinals on the bulwark of painstaking 80 by Tendulkar. In a match played during a period of stereotypical political tension between the nations, Tendulkar was incredibly dropped thrice.
2015 saw the dominance of Indians as they scored 300. The first ever century by any player on either side was scored by Virat Kohli and the stage was set for the Kohli era.
The 2017 ICC Champions Trophy provides hope to Pakistan. They reversed the group stage loss to by beating India fair and square in Finals, courtesy an attacking century by Fakhar Zaman and swing bowling of Mohammad Amir.
India should play Mohammed Shami in place of the sidelined Shikhar Dhawan. The Men in Blue should bat first as Pakistan are not a strong chasing side.
I am confident that Virat will play a vital partnership with one of the openers. Hardik Pandya should come at two-down to play a breezy innings to take the game away from Pakistan.
In case Amir and co. run through India's top order, then MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar would have to take the score above 250.
India has a tremendous bowling attack that can restrict Pakistan and ensure a seventh World Cup win over their arch-rivals.
They have scored runs against top teams like England and Australia. This has given confidence to players like Babar Azam, Imam-Ul-Haq and Mohammad Hafeez. Shoaib Malik can also play spinners well. So,Pakistan is feeling confident of their showing against India.
As rains are intermittent, Pakistan will be hoping for a rejuvenated performance from Amir and co. If this happens along with Fakhar striking form, then India is in trouble.
Pitch and weather
Old Trafford is under the mercy of the weather gods. This will be a rain curtailed game. Rain is expected at 12 so one should bat first and hope to skittle out the opposition in the 2nd half when ball will be swinging after the rains.
The ground will be covered by the blues of India along with patches of Green of Pakistan. The tension will be probably more than the Manchester Derby. Who would like to miss such an event?
The balance is totally tilted in favour of India, 3-1.
Only a maverick performance from Pakistan's key players can reverse the outcome.