“The match against India is just another game and we should avoid creating hype as it adds unnecessary pressure,” Shoaib Malik had said before the start of Asia Cup in UAE. It’s a lot to ask. Fans have been buzzing for the match as soon as the fixtures were out. It’s no surprise.
India vs Pakistan – Cricket’s greatest rivalry. Bragging rights are at stake whenever these two rivals battle it out.
The two sides, who have been arch-rivals for long, are placed in same group alongside qualifier Hong Kong. They will meet tomorrow, a day after when India play Hong Kong at Dubai International Stadium tonight. There is a probability of India and Pakistan meeting again in Super Four Stage and who knows, the finale on 28th may be played between them only.
Rohit Sharma is spearheading the Indian side as BCCI decided to rest Virat Kohli for the tournament. Pakistan started their Asia Cup campaign with a win against Hong Kong.
This will also be the first time that India and Pakistan will play each other after the 2017 Champions Trophy final, in which Pakistan handed India a 180-runs drubbing. The excitement when these two sides play against each other goes to another different level.
Though India haven’t lost to Pakistan in World Cups (both 50 overs and 20 overs), the same can’t be said about their record in Asia Cup.
If you see the overall picture, India and Pakistan have played 129 ODIs against each other, in which Pakistan has upper hand with 73 wins as compared to India’s 53 wins.
In all Asia Cup matches, which includes T20 version of the tournament in 2016, India leads 6-5 with one as no result.
Overall in UAE, both teams have played 26 matches, in which Pakistan has 19 wins while India has just seven wins.
But in the last 10 years, India has won 12 out of 18 matches played since September 2008 (taking into consideration as starting of 10 years).
No Kohli, No Party?
Like the Shoaib Akhtar-Harbhajan Singh exchange in 2010 Sri Lanka where Harbhajan finished off a memorable chase with a six to mid-wicket off Mohammed Amir and then roared while showing the bat to Akhtar who was standing at long-on, this fixture is quite something.
From Virat Kohli playing a masterclass of 183 in 2012 to Shahid Afridi hitting two sixes off Ravichandran Ashwin to scamper to one wicket win in 2014 and then Virat shining again in with an unbeaten 49 on a tough batting track in 2016, India and Pakistan encounters in the past during Asia Cup have been memorable plus thrilling to the core.
It is expected that despite Virat’s absence this time, India will look to do good against a strong Pakistan side.