‘Hasan Ali to Jasprit Bumrah and Bumrah has edged it to the keeper. Sarfraz Ahmed takes a regulation catch. The Indians have been bowled for 158. Pakistan win by 180 runs and take home the Champions Trophy.’
This was how Champions Trophy final ended in England last year. Agony for Team India and jubilations for Pakistan. This was also the last time these two arch rivals faced each other in an ODI match. India vs Pakistan has always been a titanic clash. And the rivarly is not only limited to cricket. The tensions between the neighbouring countries is well known to everyone. And the relationship has so worsened that India and Pakistan don’t play against each other, other than in ICC major tournaments. So this Asia Cup, cricket fans all around the world get a chance to watch both the teams compete against each other. India take on Pakistan later tonight at The Dubai International Stadium in the fifth match of this year’s Asia Cup.
Pakistan have already opened their points account after cruising past Hong Kong quite easily. The Pakistani bowlers made light work of the Hong Kong batsmen, restricting them to just 116 runs in their innings. And the chase was quite easy too. Rookie bowler Usman Khan dismantled the Hong Kong top order picking up three wickets. Hasan Ali and Shadab Khan too joined him picking two wickets each. Imam Ul Haq got a good half century while chasing a small total. The Pakistani side are brimming with confidence after the victory.
On the other hand India survived a scare from Hong Kong as they fought hard to secure a 26 run victory. Shikhar Dhawan scored his 14th century in ODI cricket as the southpaw finished his innings with a score of 127 runs. Ambati Rayudu scored a well made 60 to support Dhawan. However India’s middle order failed again as they lost wickets in regular intervals. A late flourish from Kedar Jadhav helped India reach a score of 285 in their innings. Hong Kong openers Nizakat Khan and Anshuman Rath played their hearts out as the duo added 174 runs for the first wicket. Kuldeep Yadav struck at the vital moment to dismiss Anshuman Rath and Hong Kong lost their momentum. Yuzvendra Chahal and Khaleel Ahmed picked up 3 wickets each in quick succession before Kuldeep Yadav picked up his second wicket. Finally the Hong Kong side were restricted for 259 runs.
It was exactly 32 years back in the same tournament, then named differently as Austral-Asia Cup (because of the participation of Australia), Javed Miandad shocked the whole world. With five runs needed in the last ball against India, Miandad hit a six over deep midwicket to hand Pakistan the glorified trophy. The bitter memory is still afresh in the some of the ex Indian players who were a part of that match. India vs Pakistan has always been an edge of the seat context. If we rewind our memories and go back to 2007, we will remember what a thriller of a match these two teams played at Johannesburg in the final of the 2007 T20 World Cup. India managed to win the match just by whisker after a moment of madness let Mishab Ul Haq throw his wicket away. Expecting the same thrills and a little bit of drama combined with the flow of emotions from the players when both sides lock heads in this year’s tournament.
Probable Playing XI:
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma(C), KL Rahul, MS Dhoni(WK), Dinesh Karthik/Ambati Rayudu, Hardik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav, Bhuvaneswar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal.
Pakistan: Imam Ul Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed(C & WK), Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Ushman Khan.
Photo by wonker