Asia Cup: India vs Pakistan Preview

Cricket ball and bails on field

The undisputed match-up of the Asia Cup group stage is the final game in group A, where India take on Pakistan.

It is a match that doesn't need any additional hype - and we can expect anything from a sensational fixture to a major diplomatic incident.

India vs Pakistan | Wednesday, 19 September | Dubai International Stadium | 13:30     

To Win Match * Prices to be updated on release   
Tie 35/1

It is hard to judge the form of either side, given both have only clashed with Hong Kong - and the minnows looked tremendously out of their depth.

India's immediate thoughts will be of revenge for their ICC Champions Trophy defeat to Pakistan in 2017.

On that day, India were firm favourites but since then Pakistan have made great strides in ODI cricket. India will need to be at their best and the key challenge in the game will be the top-order against Pakistan's new-ball bowlers.

India will want skipper Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan to give them their trademark flying starts, but they have a potent array of batsmen to chose from to staff their middle-order.

Lokesh Rahul seems the natural choice for India as a number three, given his ability as a white-ball opener. Dinesh Karthik will keep the pressure up on Manish Pandey and Ambati Rayudu, who are already playing with the knowledge that one of them currently occupies Virat Kohli's seat.

India know that their ideal bowling quartet comprises Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, with injury the only element that will keep their names out of the XI.

Much is made of Pakistan's bowling prowess, but their opponents also possess a skilled attack. The young batting lineup will encounter their first big test, having put Zimbabwe to the sword earlier this year.

The team has a youthful air to it, but much will be expected of those veterans who have made the cut - and none more so than Shoaib Malik. The vastly experienced all-rounder will be called upon to put in a shift with bat and ball. Malik will be the safety net underneath talented youngsters Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam.

Pakistan have shown themselves to have an excellent batting plan B in the trio of all-rounders Asif Ali, Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf, who have impressed so far this year.

Usman Khan probably did enough against Hong Kong to keep his place as the third seamer behind Mohammad Amir and Hasan Ali. Usman took the new ball against the associates and claimed three for 19.

In Asia Cup competition, Pakistan have won five matches against India, losing six while one was abandoned.

Verdict: India
India just shade the contest when the two teams are compared on paper, but don't ever rule out an upset in this epic rivalry.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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