The mother of all clashes is almost upon us. India take on Pakistan in a crunch ICC cricket World Cup tie in Manchester on Sunday and the eyes of the world will be glued at Old Trafford.
Coincidentally, the match between the two nations at the 1999 cricket World Cup was also played at old Trafford, Manchester; where India went on to beat Pakistan by 47 runs.
India come into this all-important tie unbeaten in the tournament, having won their first two matches against South Africa and Australia, however, the match against New Zealand was washed out and both teams took home one point each.
Pakistan, on the other hand, have won only one of their four matches, losing two and one match being abandoned because of rain.
Virat Kohli’s men received a big blow ahead of their match against the Kiwis with Shikhar Dhawan being ruled for about three weeks with a broken thumb and that will have major affect on how the team lines-up for the rest of the tournament.
Match against New Zealand would have given us some idea but, as previously mentioned the match was washed out.
Here is Livemint’s predicted Team India line-up for what is expected to be a high-octane encounter.
1) KL Rahul – Has previously opened the batting in all formats of the game and is a natural replacement for Dhawan. Has also done well in two matches that India have taken to the field in at the ICC cricket World Cup 2019.
2) Rohit Sharma – Rohit has been the form man for India in the series, having scored a century and a half-century in the tournament. He needs to play well himself and nurture his opening partner along as well.
3) Virat Kohli – Looked in sublime form against Australia at the Oval. His superb innings propelled to a total which was a bit too much for the Aussies. Scored a ton against Pakistan at the 2015 World Cup and will be looking to do the same at Old Trafford, Manchester.
4) Dinesh Karthik – The way the Indian squad is, the choice for who bats at number four is between Dinesh Karthik and Vijay Shankar and given Karthik has been doing reasonably, he replaces injured Dhawan. Karthik did well in IPL too, so must come into the team with confidence high.
5) MS Dhoni – Undoubted number one for India behind the stumps and has been in good form with the bat so far in the ICC cricket World Cup 2019. Best finisher India has and his experience against Pakistan will be vital.
6) Kedar Jadhav – Hasn’t had anything to do in the cup so far with the bat and has bowled just five overs. He could be the one whose neck could be the one the chopping block but it’s unlikely.
7) Hardik Pandya – Has played two cameos with the bat so far in the tournament and has helped the Men in Blue. The Bowling can be improved upon and that is what Pandya will be hoping for.
8) Kuldeep Yadav – Started the tournament as India’s number one spinner but has only picked up one wicket in the tournament. He will be looking to put up a more emphatic display against Pakistan.
9) Bhuvneshwar Kumar –Five wickets so far in the tournament and he was the one who put the brakes on Australia when they were looking really dangerous with two wickets in the over. His economy rate has been good too.
10) Yuzvendra Chahal – India’s leading wicket-taker so far in the tournament with six wickets and has been a mystery for batsmen, how he and Kuldeep fair in the next few matches will have a huge bearing on how team performs.
11) Jasprit Bumrah – India’s number one bowler in all forms of cricket and he has been superb so far, picking up five wickets. He has an okay record against Pakistan and he will be looking to better that.