The cricketing world is buzzing with anticipation as arch-rivals India and Pakistan prepare for a thrilling encounter at the World Cup, set to take place at the colossal cricket stadium in Ahmedabad. Here are four pivotal duels that could shape the outcome of this highly-anticipated contest.
1. Rohit vs. Shaheen: India’s captain, Rohit Sharma, has faced challenges against the left-arm pace of Shaheen Shah Afridi in recent encounters. Shaheen had Rohit’s off stump upended in their Asia Cup match last month when a lack of footwork resulted in Rohit’s dismissal for just 11. The battle commenced at the T20 World Cup in 2021 when Shaheen dismissed Rohit with a duck in the first over. However, Rohit showed a more cautious approach in their subsequent meeting in Colombo, even though he managed to send the first ball for a six.
2. Kohli vs. Rauf: A high-pressure scenario unfolded when Virat Kohli faced Haris Rauf in a challenging chase during the T20 World Cup in Melbourne last year. India needed 31 runs off the last 18 balls to chase a target of 160 when Kohli’s nerve held firm. He smashed Rauf for two critical sixes, thrilling the packed Melbourne Cricket Ground. The first was a length ball, dispatched straight down the ground, and the next was flicked over fine-leg, securing a memorable victory. The impending face-off in Ahmedabad promises to rekindle this intense battle.
3. Azam vs. Bumrah: Jasprit Bumrah had a firsthand experience of the Pakistan captain Babar Azam’s prowess during the 2021 T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates. Azam, along with Mohammad Rizwan, comfortably navigated India’s bowling attack, including Bumrah, known for his yorkers. However, Bumrah and his teammates appeared to have learned their lessons when they bowled out Pakistan for 128 in a resounding 228-run win in an Asia Cup Super Four clash two years later. Bumrah managed to beat Azam’s bat on several occasions in Colombo, and Hardik Pandya eventually secured the prized wicket.
4. Iftikhar vs. Kuldeep: Iftikhar Ahmed, a versatile middle-order batsman, demonstrated his ability to anchor an inning or go after the bowling during the Asia Cup last month. However, India’s spinner, Kuldeep Yadav, swiftly halted Iftikhar’s innings by taking a smart catch off his own bowling. Kuldeep, a left-arm wrist spinner, was the tormentor-in-chief, claiming figures of 5-25 as India clinched a commanding 228-run win. Iftikhar’s role in the upcoming clash will involve handling the spinners in the middle overs while contributing to the scoring rate.
Cricket enthusiasts worldwide eagerly await these individual battles that could significantly influence the outcome of the India vs. Pakistan clash.