Wahab Riaz will be one of Pakistan's key pacers going into the match © Getty Images
Wahab Riaz will be one of Pakistan’s key pacers going into the match © Getty Images

The joie de vivre moment that we have all been waiting for will be witnessed when India take on arch-rivals Pakistan at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur. The match is probably the most awaited encounter of Asia Cup 2016. If we take a bird’s eye view, India are certainly the favourites but no one can deny that Pakistan has the ability to give them a thorough jolt with some brilliant bowling display. India have some excellent batsmen in their ranks like Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh. One of the major impediments before Pakistan will be to stop this very talented Indian batting line-up. Live Cricket Scorecard: India vs Pakistan, Asia Cup T20 2016 Match 4 at Dhaka

If Pakistan bowlers succeed in making early inroads it will better the equation for them to win the match. India’s middle-order was found wanting in their recent Twenty20 international (T20I) series played at home against Sri Lanka. Pakistan bowlers will want to exploit this chink in India’s armory. Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi, in high probability will start the proceedings with Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Aamer. Mohammad Sami will be the first change but taking into consideration his stupendous performance in Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2016, Afridi may prefer him to share the new ball with Riaz.

Mohammad Irfan is another bowler having the potential to give India goose bumps. If all four get to play and even two of them click along with some classic spin support from Afridi and Shoaib Malik, there is every chance that India might buckle under pressure. If there is a tinge of green on the pitch, it will get even more difficult for the Indian batters to face the likes of Riaz, Sami and Aamer. It is here that Pakistan can pose some serious threat to the Indians. Grass at Mirpur is a rarity but even if there is a slightest presence of the colour (as we have seen in earlier fixtures) and Pakistan pacers exploit it to good effect, they are certainly in with a chance. Even if the pitch is not conducive for fast bowling, India cannot and should not take Pakistan lightly.

Pakistan fast bowlers have that latent talent wanting to shudder out at crucial moments and if it does on Saturday, India might have a tough time. Most of the Indian batsmen are not good at playing swing. Add to it, except Kohli, Dhoni and Yuvraj, none of the Indian batsmen have the ability to play the rising ball. Pakistan will fire a lot of bouncers at them and if India fall in their trap, things might get complicated for the middle and lower-order which has not been in good form of late. So India, be wary of Pakistani pacers and come up with a good strategy to tackle their swing and bounce.

(Bhaskar Narayan is a reporter at CricketCountry and Criclife. He passionately follows the game and is a big fan of Sachin Tendulkar. His Twitter handle is @Cricopathy)