India v Pakistan – Live Cricket Streaming & Match preview - ‘A Manchester Sizzler’
An India Pakistan clash is quite simply the biggest game of the 2019 World Cup, and rest assure it will bring the cricket crazy Asian sub-continent to a standstill, which it often does.
Though India is overwhelmingly favourites to win the pool game at Old Trafford today, Pakistan, enigmatic and most unpredictable of the cricket playing nations, could well spring a surprise, though unlikely.
Sadly, we have seen the game of cricket been hijacked by the politicians, so much so that the three ODI matches in 2013 in India, represent the only bilateral series between the two, in more than a decade now. The sporting deadlock continues to this day and two teams only get to meet each other in white ball ICC events. The infrequency of these matches perhaps has added more drama to an emotionally charged rivalry of the two neighbours.
The two teams have previously met in World Cup on six occasions – 1992, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2011 & 2015 - with India having won all. World Cup history, ICC ranking, recent form, squad strength, leadership, 2019 World Cup point table and man-to-man comparison, leaves one to conclude that there can only be one winner today, in a game that might well be affected by the Manchester weather.
In view of its poor run in the ODIs, a win against an Indian side, led by its star batsman Virat Kohli, would do Pakistan team, a world of good. Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed, surprisingly yesterday did not ‘fancy’ facing the world media, leaving the talking to head coach, Mickey Arthur. Hopefully Sarfraz is up for the challenge on the field, in a vital World Cup match.
The selection of wrist spinner Shadab Khan, perhaps ahead of Shoaib Malik, will be the only change in Pakistan’s team that played against Australia. Though classified as a ‘batting all-rounder’, the 37-year old Shoaib has not won his country enough matches, with either bat or ball, to warrant an automatic selection for the match against India.
A win in the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy at the oval remains Pakistan’s rare major ODI victory against its bitter rival. It was one of the rare occasions, when its batting line up did not crack under the pressure of a do-or-die match against India. Batting first will give Pakistan a much better chance to win and today once again, its batsmen will come under focus. At least one of the top six will need to bat deep in order to play an ‘impact’ innings and lead their team to a win.
A win against India will lift Pakistan and have a positive bearing on its standing in the rest of the 2019 World Cup tournament. A 41-run defeat against Australia at Taunton, last Wednesday, has left Pakistan team with just 3 points from its four World Cup games and now can only afford to lose just one of the five remaining matches, it is scheduled to play against India, South Africa, New Zealand, Afghanistan and finally Bangladesh. That loss better not be today against India, is the plea of the fanatic Pakistan supporters, all around the globe.
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