India and Pakistan will cross swords again on Sunday, September 30, when they meet in a group 2 Super eights game. Pakistan have come off a nerve-wracking win against South Africa, while India are still licking their wounds after a walloping by the Aussies, in the sides’ respective first group games.
But the results of those matches will have little bearing on the India-Pakistan encounter which is a contest by itself, quite apart from the World Cup.
On paper, Pakistan’s superior bowling attack should hand them the edge. Also, Hafeez skippered the side brilliantly when the South Africans batted. His team selection was spot on as he went into the game with just the one seamer in Gul and sought to exploit the Proteas’ vulnerability against spin with the likes of Ajmal, Afridi and Hasan apart from the skipper himself dominating the proceedings. Gul was given just a solitary over causing a wag to tag him a “specialist fielder”. But the lanky fast bowler was instrumental in shepherding his side to victory with the bat, when chasing a meagre target of 134 to win, Pakistan collapsed to 70-odd for 7.
Sehwag’s poor form saw Dhoni continue with his “experiment” with five bowlers against Australia. in the event, new ball bowler, Irfan Pathan, opened the batting and spinner Ashwin opened the bowling. India’s over-dependence on Virat Kohli was cruelly underlined when after Kohli’s failure, the batting collapsed in the backdrop of some great out-cricket from the Aussies. But more than the batting failure, it was the toothlessness of the bowling attack that must worry the Indians ahead of Sunday’s game against their traditional rivals.
On paper, Pakistan are the more balanced team. Their bowling is far superior both in terms of wicket taking ability and variation. However, the immaturity of their young top order was there for all to see while chasing a modest target (while taking nothing away from South Africa’s performance in the field). The shot selection in particular was strange with Imran Nazir trying to go over the top when a run a ball would have sufficed. India will seek to exploit this immaturity and given the high-tension atmosphere of a typical India-Pakistan game, the ability to hold their nerve will serve the eventual winners more than any ability with bat or ball.
Above all, Pakistan have yet to beat India in a World Cup, since the beginning of the saga more than three decades ago. Hafeez’s wards will need to get that monkey off their back first. Advantage India.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.