After surviving a massive scare at the hands of lowly Hong Kong, Team India is all set to lock horns against arch-rivals Pakistan in the Asia Cup 2018 on Wednesday (September 19). And were are ready with the match prediction. It will be a hectic day for them as they just played a closely-fought encounter with Hong Kong. India would have hoped to finish the match off early and get a much-needed break for the rest of the day.
However, that didn’t quite happen as Hong Kong gave them a tough fight and almost harboured hopes of scripting the biggest upset in world cricket.
Given India’s performance in the opening match, Pakistan would be very confident of winning their opener of the Asia Cup 2018. They were quite impressive in their opening encounter against Hong Kong and swept them away quite convincingly.
Pakistan won the match by eight wickets to start off their campaign on a winning note.
There was a situation when Hong Kong threatened to chase the total down the target. Openers Anshuman Rath and Nizakat Khan shared a mammoth 174-run partnership which was merely unbelievable from a team like Hong Kong. They have been scraped of One-day International status by the world cricket governing body ICC very recently. This could well be a signal to ICC from Hong Kong that they should be given another chance.
India will make quite a few changes:
India did rest quite a few players in their opening clash. However, there might be quite a few changes from the opening match for India. Jasprit Bumrah should make a comeback.
Despite a great debut performance by Khaleel Ahmed, he is expected to be left out. KL Rahul might also make a comeback in favour of Kedar Jadhav. He never looked in good touch and was quite dodgy against Hong Kong.
On the other hand, Pakistan is expected to retain the same team which defeated Hong Kong and thrashed Zimbabwe in a One-day series by a 5-0 margin.
The opening duo of Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq has been quite superb and has scored the bulk of the runs for Pakistan recently.
Team India skipper Rohit Sharma who didn’t manage to score big in the 1st game will definitely look to score a big in the all-important clash against Pakistan. He has an excellent record against top nations in the limited-overs cricket.
However, the Mohammad Amir might come to haunt them. The left-arm pacer has bowled quite brilliantly against India. However, against Hong Kong, he failed to get any wickets.
Hasan Ali and Usman Khan have performed pretty well for Pakistan. Hence they should be in good stead ahead of the big clash. For India, the return of Jasprit Bumrah will surely keep them in a good stead.
The wrist spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav will be crucial to India’s chances in the encounter.
So, we can expect as many as three changes from the Indian side. KL Rahul might make a comeback at the top while replacing Kedar Jadhav.
Meanwhile, Hardik Pandya can make a comeback at the expense of Shardul Thakur. Jasprit Bumrah will also return to the playing XI at the expense of Khaleel Ahmed, who bowled brilliantly in his debut game.
Predicted XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah
The Men in Green in all likelihood is expected to retain the same playing XI which has severed them so well in the last two months.
Mohammad Amir’s form has been a concern for Pakistan. However, he generally tends to improve his game against India.
Predicted XI: Fakhar Zaman, Imam Ul Haq, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Usman Khan, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali
India has always taken their game to the next level in games against Pakistan especially after the two teams have stopped playing bilateral series against each other.
Despite their below-par performance against Hong Kong, it won’t be an easy job for Pakistan to beat the mighty Indians. They will come hard against Pakistan. They have played well against them in ICC competitions and Asia Cups in the last few editions.