Thursday, July 18, 2019 | ePaper

India aim to maintain World Cup dominance over arch-rivals Pakistan

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The vast aisles and the stands of Old Trafford will be brimming with excitement as fans celebrate, perhaps, the most anticipated clash of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019. The match kicks-off at 3.30 PM BST (Bangladesh Standard Time).
With their last game against New Zealand being washed out, Virat Kohli's men will be eager to take the field as they face Pakistan in Manchester on Sunday. While their wins against South Africa and Australia came on the back of all-round efforts, it won't be an easy start for the Indian top order, which, in the absence of Shikhar Dhawan, will be up against an in-form Mohammad Amir.
With KL Rahul set to open, the no. 4 spot yet again leaves room for discussion, with Dinesh Karthik and Vijay Shankar in contention.
Pakistan, who registered a remarkable win against England, lost to Australia by 41 runs in Taunton. Their bowlers made a strong comeback in the latter half of the innings, but it was the batting effort that let them down. Sarfaraz Ahmed might consider drafting in Haris Sohail into the playing eleven in place of the experienced Shoaib Malik, who has failed in each of his three outings in the tournament so far.
The World Cup head-to-head result, which firmly rests on India's side with six wins to none, would be of least importance considering the unpredictable nature of the Pakistan team. The Sarfaraz Ahmed led side, which is capable to beat any opposition on their day, will look to produce a result similar to that of the ICC Champions Trophy finals from two years ago.
Key Players:
Virat Kohli (India): In Shikhar Dhawan's absence, Virat Kohli will now have an added responsibility. The Indian captain has often produced his best performances against Pakistan in multi-nation tournaments and will eye another big score on Sunday.
Mohammad Hafeez (Pakistan): Hafeez starred with the bat against England, scoring a quickfire 84 which powered his side to a 14-run victory over the hosts. With Pakistan desperately needing a match-defining innings as they seek their second win in the competition, Hafeez, who averages 48.60 against India, could be their key man at Old Trafford.
Conditions:
It is expected to be a dry and clear start to the day with some early sunshine, but its the afternoon hours that come with a heavy rain threat. Teams batting second have won four of the last five matches at Old Trafford and with rain expected to play its part, both captains will be tempted to field first.
Squads:
India: Virat Kohli (c), Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, MS Dhoni (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, Rohit Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav.
Pakistan: Sarfaraz Ahmed (c, wk), Asif Ali, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Imam-ul-Haq, Shadab Khan, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz, Haris Sohail, Imad Wasim, Fakhar Zaman.

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