Crucial New-Ball Match-Up Could Determine Outcome
Former India team coach, Ravi Shastri, who served as recently as 2021, suggests that the outcome of the much-anticipated clash could be determined by a pivotal new-ball match-up. Shastri identifies the confrontation between Shaheen Shah Afridi and the Indian openers as the key challenge. He believes that the victor of this duel could significantly influence the course of the game.
Afridi’s New-Ball Threat: A Game Changer
Shastri’s emphasis on Afridi’s new-ball threat is understandable, considering his experience as India’s head coach during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021. During this tournament, Afridi, the left-arm quick, dismissed both of India’s openers at the start of the thrilling encounter between the two nations.
Key Players for India: Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli
Shastri also highlights the importance of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli’s performances for India’s success in the tournament. He believes that if both players perform well and one scores a century, India could potentially reach a score of 300, 320, or even 330.
Key Player for Pakistan: Babar Azam
From Pakistan’s perspective, Shastri believes that their captain, Babar Azam, needs to step up. Despite his recent lack of form, if Azam starts scoring high runs early in the tournament, it could significantly ease his responsibilities as a captain.
Impressive Bowling Partnerships
Shastri also mentions the bowling partnerships he expects to shine during the World Cup. He singles out Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj for India, and Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf for Pakistan. He also mentions Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc as key players for Australia.
India vs Pakistan: A Rare Encounter
Shastri notes that India and Pakistan face each other less frequently than during his playing days, which makes the upcoming match at the Narendra Modi Stadium even more thrilling for the players.
Memorable Moments from Past Encounters
When asked about his standout moment from past India vs Pakistan matches, Shastri recalls Sachin Tendulkar’s uppercut against Shoaib Akhtar as one of the finest innings he has witnessed.
High Stakes for the Upcoming Match
The upcoming match between India and Pakistan holds significant implications, including the title of the world’s top-ranked ODI team. Pakistan could potentially overtake the tournament hosts in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s Team Rankings with a win.
Shastri’s Prediction: India as Favourites
Despite the high stakes, Shastri considers the home side as the favourites to win the match in Ahmedabad, citing India’s stronger side on a man-for-man basis.