BY ALI NAQVI –
Rain, fire, hope, fear, passion, disappointment; it’s all getting mixed up ahead of India – Pakistan encounter. Contrasting performances by the two most passionate teams in the world have poised the game on a very critical juncture. Pakistan is desperate to win this all important match while India is ready to fight tooth and nail to deny Pakistan once again the victory at the world cup stage.
Social media hype
There is deafening clamor on social media about who will win this time. In our side of the fence cricket lovers are hoping against hope to see Pakistan over the line, yet no one is ready to leave the social media front unguarded. Coincidentally the match is on Father’s Day so the significance of the word ‘Baap’ is being used in the context of cricket to show superiority with a touch of satire and a pinch of humor.
India has always been a very strong batting lineup. Ganguly, Sehwag, Gambhir, Tendulkar, Dravid were not the last of the greats. Today we have Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Dhawan and Dhoni who can destroy any bowling attack. Pakistan on the other hand has a young but talented batting order. Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam and the experienced Muhammad Hafeez have all the fire power to score against any team. The real difference between the two sides is professionalism as well as the way they approach the game. India will never throw away a wicket, while Pakistan can get carried away playing some great shots for a soft dismissal.
A toothless pace attack used to be the weakness of the Indian team, but not anymore. A strong bowling attach makes Indian eleven the most dangerous side in the world today. Both Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar bowl with discipline and aggression at the start of the innings while Pandya and Chahal can wreak havoc in the middle overs. Pakistan is mercurial. There are issues of team selection to start with. Most bowlers cannot find the rhythem or bowl with discipline. But the way Muhammad Amir bowled against Australia was a proof that he is a world class bowler. Wahab Riaz is also doing well. His one good spell can root out the entire batting order of any team. Hasan Ali is struggling. He needs to fire. His performance in the middle overs can make a difference.
Ground fielding and catching is a cause of concern for Pakistan. As they say ‘catches win matches’, one good catch can change the complexion of the game. Sarfraz eleven was pathetic in the field against Australia. They cannot afford to repeat the performance against India. Virat Kohli and his men are good at fielding. They will not allow any chances go by or any extra runs taken.
The last word
The way the English weather is behaving for the last couple of weeks, it seems rain will have the last word in India – Pakistan match. The weather forecast is predicting rain. Four matches have been washed out so far. If it rains it would be extremely unfortunate for world cricket and tragically sad for cricket enthusiasts across the globe.