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227 days have passed when one witnessed India and Pakistan lock horns. It was in the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy. A rivalry unparalleled in cricket is set to be reignited at the Under-19 level, as the teams are set to square off in the semi-final 2 of the U-19 Cricket World Cup 2017. India so far have been unbeaten in the tournament, while Pakistan’s only defeat came in their opening match.

Head-to-head

India hold an edge over Pakistan in youth ODIs, winning 12 of 21 matches. Pakistan, on the other hand, have been dominating in the World Cups, having beaten India 5 out of 8 times.

India will look to overturn this tally and make amends of earlier defeats.

The match will be fought between two pragmatic captains in Prithvi Shaw and Hasan Khan. Prithvi has led well with both his thoughtfulness and bat. Hasan has led Pakistan from the front with his all-round skills. It will be an interesting contest to see which of these talented kids have the more impactful abilities.

Future Virat Kohli-Mohammad Aamer battle

Another battle that could decide the outcome of the semi-final is how Shubman Gill tackles Shaheen Afridi. Gill has been obliterating bowling lineups, while Afridi has been rattling the stumps more often.

Afridi’s ability to bring the ball back into the batsmen is what makes him lethal. Gill, known to be a free-flowing batsman, would definitely be challenged. This rivalry in times to come could very well turn to be the future tussle at the international level.

Art vs skill

India’s bowling lineup will challenge the in-form Pakistan unit. Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi would be itching to play alongside Mitchell Starc in the IPL but would know that there is no high that could match a performance for India. Both will be at their best against Ali Asif and Rohail Nazir. Asif, along with Nazir, have been Pakistan’s most consistent batsmen.

Asif scored an unbeaten 74 against South Africa. It was a perfect example of how to build an innings. His ability to nudge singles at will is a sight for all Pakistani fans.

Asif will up against Anukul Roy in the middle overs. Roy has been Shaw’s go-to man in the tournament. Roy, in tandem with Abhishek Sharma, have been tightening a rope around batsmen’s bat, hardly giving anything to score.

If India win this match, Rahul Dravid will have a second shot at coaching India in the final of U-19 World Cup: India had narrowly missed out in the 2016 final. So, Shaw and his boys, apart from doing it for themselves, would look to do it for the man who has been standing tall, achieving taller accomplishments and making India’s cricketing laurels the tallest.

Likely XIs: 

It will be a wrong decision on part of both teams to make a change in such a high-stake situation.

India U19: Ishan Porel, Shubman Gill, Abhishek Sharma, Harvik Desai (w), Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Prithvi Shaw (c), Shiva Singh, Riyan Parag, Anukul Sudhakar Roy, Shivam Mavi, Manjot Kalra

Pakistan U19:  Muhammad Zaid Alam, Rohail Nazir(w), Ammad Alam, Ali Zaryab, Mohammad Taha, Saad Khan, Hasan Khan(c), Shaheen Afridi, Muhammad Musa, Suleman Shafqat, Arshad Iqbal

TIME: 3.30 AM IST