Asia Cup 2018: Unsure India meet dynamic Pakistan in UAE blockbuster
The last time Pakistan met India, Mohammad Amir blew away their top order. @Getty

For the first time since 2006, India and Pakistan will clash in an ODI in the UAE. Hard to believe?

Such have been the frostiness of the relationship between the two teams that bilateral cricket has ceased, and the only times India meet Pakistan nowadays is in ICC tournaments and the Asia Cup. Match five of the 2018 Asia Cup pits Sarfraz Ahmed’s team against Rohit Sharma’s side, the first time the two opponents are meeting since the final of the ICC Champions Trophy in June 2017.

From that match, which Pakistan won by 180 runs, much of the same players remain on either side. The notable absence is that of Virat Kohli, rested for the Asia Cup. Pakistan will bank on the same pace attack that blew India away that day at The Oval, with the additional power of Usman Khan, and without Kohli India will need whoever fills those boots at No 3 to support Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan up front and a struggling middle order. Pakistan have plenty of experience in the UAE, their home away from home since 2009, and with an exciting opening act in Fazhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq and the spin of Shadab Khan, this is a very good team.

For India, who narrowly escaped defeat to Hong Kong on Tuesday, the issue is getting enough runs on the board. They made 286 and nearly lost to Hong Kong, which was a wake-up call. One positive for India since they last met Pakistan is the influence that the wrist-spinning duo of Kuldeep Yadav, ranked  sixth in ODIs, and Yuzvendra Chahal, at ninth, have had on India’s fortunes in ODIs and T20Is since the Champions Trophy. With R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja out of the picture, Kuldeep and Chahal have spun India to several wins. Now, as they both play Pakistan for the first time, it is with the promise of plenty.

India had to wait for 34 overs to pick up the first Hong Kong wicket. (Getty Image)
India had to wait for 34 overs to pick up the first Hong Kong wicket. (Getty Image)

Date: September 19

Venue: Dubai International Cricket Stadium

Time: 17:00 IST

Weather: Hot and humid with a high of 39 degrees

Team News

India 

Four overs, 41 runs, no wickets. Shardul Thakur looks almost certain to be dropped, with India having to choose from Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah. Given the lack of firepower at the backend of their innings on Tuesday, it could be Pandya who gets the nod given his batting, and the fact that he took apart Pakistan’s bowlers the last time he played them.

Probable XI: 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Rohit Sharma (capt), 3 Ambati Rayudu, 4 Dinesh Karthik, 5 MS Dhoni (wk), 6 Kedar Jadhav,7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Khaleel Ahmed

Yuzvendra Chahal is geared up for his first game versus Pakistan.
Yuzvendra Chahal is geared up for his first game versus Pakistan. @BCCI

Pakistan 

Left-arm pacer Usman Khan, who was Man of the Match versus Hong Kong, did not complate his eighth over after injuring a toe, but is fit to play.

Probable XI: 1 Imam-ul-Haq, 2 Fakhar Zaman, 3 Babar Azam, 4 Shoaib Malik, 5 Safraz Ahmed (capt/wk), 6 Asif Ali, 7 Shadad Khan, 8 Faheem Ashraf, 9 Mohammad Amir, 10 Hasan Ali, 11 Usman Khan

Statistics

- In the 12 years since the two teams last played in the UAE, Pakistan have played 63 ODIs in the region, winning 32 and losing 31.

- Of players involved in this edition of the Asia Cup, Shoaib Malik is the leading run-getter in tournament history with 575 at 63.88.

Head-to-Head

- India have played 12 matches against Pakistan in the Asia Cup, winning six, losing five and with one no-result. During the last Asia Cup in 2016, which was a T20 format edition, India beat Pakistan by five wickets in the league stage.

Quotes

“We will not take that Champions Trophy win in our minds. That was a different atmosphere and conditions. It was a year ago so that’s history.” – Sarfraz

“Growing up as a young kid wanting to play for India, it was always on my bucket list [playing Pakistan]. I haven’t experienced what it feels like but I’m more excited than nervous.” – Chahal