The stage is set for an epic showdown as Pakistan’s cricket team has officially announced its Playing XI for the highly anticipated clash against India in the Super 4 stage of the Asia Cup 2023. With the rain disrupting earlier matches and the tournament moving to Colombo, both teams are eager to renew their age-old rivalry, but the ominous weather continues to be a cause for concern.
The Playing XI
Pakistan’s Playing XI for the India vs. Pakistan encounter features a blend of talent and experience:
Babar Azam (c)
Mohammad Rizwan (wk)
Before delving into the details of Pakistan’s lineup, it’s worth noting the form guide of both teams. India has won three of their last five completed ODIs, while Pakistan has a stellar record, winning all five of their last completed ODIs. The recent form of the Pakistani side could give them a psychological edge going into the crucial clash.
In the Spotlight: KL Rahul and Naseem Shah
KL Rahul, who has been sidelined for four months, is set to make a comeback into India’s ODI XI. His return sparks a selection dilemma for the Indian team management, with Ishan Kishan’s excellent recent performances creating a selection headache. Sunday’s fixture against Pakistan provides Rahul with a golden opportunity to prove his fitness and form, setting the stage for a captivating showdown between Rahul and Kishan.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Naseem Shah, despite not possessing the pace of Shaheen Shah Afridi or Haris Rauf, possesses the ability to skid the ball off the pitch, making him a unique threat. Naseem has a history of unsettling Indian batters, as seen during his T20I debut against India in the Asia Cup last year. Can he replicate that success in the 50-overs format?
Big Boost For India
Jasprit Bumrah, who missed the game against Nepal for the birth of his child, is back in the Indian squad for the Super 4 stage. His inclusion adds depth to India’s bowling attack, and it is expected that he will slot back into the XI alongside KL Rahul. This may mean that either Mohammed Shami or Ishan Kishan could be left out.
All eyes will be on the weather in Colombo, with precipitation chances up to 90%. The pitch used in recent matches has shown signs of assisting both seamers and spinners, promising an exciting battle between bat and ball if the rain gods allow.