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India vs Pakistan, Asia Cup 2022 2nd T20I Preview: Gear up for the mother of all cricketing rivalries

India vs Pakistan, Asia Cup 2022 2nd T20I Preview
India vs Pakistan, Asia Cup 2022 2nd T20I Preview

Not many from the frontline will concede it publicly but India will be keen to avenge their 2021 T20 World Cup thumping at the hands of Pakistan.

Deja vu

As Rohit Sharma and Babar Azam walk out for the toss in the second match of Asia Cup 2022 at the Dubai International Stadium, the memories of the last encounter between the two sides in the 2021 T20 World Cup at the same venue will be fresh in the minds of both players and fans.

India have a favourable head to head record against Pakistan in T20 Internationals, having won four of the last five matches between the two teams. However, when it mattered the most, in the first match for both teams in the last showpiece event, India faltered as Pakistan registered a sensational 10-wicket win and hardly put a put wrong.

All this debate for no change!

For all the discussion around India's playing XI since that defeat against Pakistan and an early exit from the World Cup, they will start out with more or less the same batting line-up in their first match of the Asia Cup.

With KL Rahul back from injury, he will partner Rohit Sharma at the top of the order despite having hardly had any game time behind him. Same is the case with Virat Kohli after the former Indian captain took a lengthy break from competitive cricket with the aim of getting back to his peak form.

Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja almost pick themselves which means that Dinesh Karthik who was picked after a successful IPL campaign as a specialist finisher will probably have to sit out.

Pakistan's weak middle order

Pakistan are likely to go with Mohammad Rizwan, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Asif Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah and Shadab Khan as their top 7. They might consider picking Haider Ali in place of Iftikhar Ahmed but in either case their middle order does not inspire a lot of confidence.

The onus once again will be on openers Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam, and to some extent on Fakhar Zaman who will bat at one drop. If the Indian bowlers are successful in picking up a couple of early wickets, Pakistan can really find themselves in trouble.

No Shaheen, Bumrah

There is as much focus on the stars who are missing out from this high-octane clash as it is on the ones who will be seen in action. For Pakistan, apart from the out-of-form Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi will miss the entire Asia Cup due to a knee ligament injury although he is with the group and recuperating under the watchful eye of the national physiotherapist.

Pakistan may have intentionally chosen not to pick Shoaib Malik but his absence may still be felt, with the Pakistan middle order seriously bereft of international experience.

For India, the two pace bowlers who were almost automatic picks in the XI -- Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel are both injured which opens the door for the likes of Arshdeep Singh to show what they are made of.

Naseem Shah in the limelight

Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh and Yuzvendra Chahal will be India's bowling options with the only question over whether they pick Ravi Bishnoi, Ravichandran Ashwin or Avesh Khan as their sixth bowler.

Likewise, Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf are certainties for Pakistan. If they don't want to risk Mohammad Wasim Jr after the young pacer complained of back pain during practice and had to be taken for a precautionary MRI, it makes space for both Mohammad Nawaz and Mohammad Hasnain to play.


India have been guilty of being a bit too circumspect in their game plan during the powerplay but with a renewed approach and in the absence of Shaheen Shah Afridi, they are expected to go a lot harder from ball one. Naseem Shah will have to step up to the plate to offset India's aggressive approach.

Given the massive factor of dew in the UAE, the toss will also play a crucial role.

Predicted Playing XIs

India: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravi Bishnoi/Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Yuzvendra Chahal

Pakistan: Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam (c), Fakhar Zaman, Asif Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Nawaz/Mohammad Hasnain

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