Dubai, September 22: India had landed the first punch on Pakistan when the old rivals met in the league phase of the Asia Cup 2018, winning the match by eight wickets. Now, they will meet again the Super Four stage of the tournament on Sunday (September 23) at Dubai.
Since that contest on September 19, India had beaten Bangladesh quite comfortably in their first Super Four match while Pakistan had to go through a last over thriller against Afghanistan before scoring a nervy win.
Ahead of the Super Sunday clash at 5 PM that will be aired live on Star Sports channels, MyKhel takes a close look at some key battles that may determine the course of the match. Let's dive in then! Of course, watch out for MyKhel Live Blog too to keep you on track of the match.
1. Mohammad Amir vs Rohit Sharma/Shikhar Dhawan
The first round victory went to Indian openers. Both Rohit and Dhawan negotiated Amir quite carefully. There were no razzmatazz but the Indians waddled through the threat of Amir with judicious leaves and shot selection and covering the line and angle perfectly. Of course, Pakistan had made just 162, helping the Indians to play without the scoreboard pressure. And the pitch too did not offer pace or bounce to Amir but the Indian openers need to continue the careful approach against the left-arm pacer.
2. Bhuveshwar Kumar / Jasprit Bumrah vs Pak top order
The Pakistan top order has some fine batsmen - Fakhr Zaman, Babar Azam, Imam -ul-Haq and Shoaib Malik. But they will up against two canny customers in Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah. The Dubai pitch has been sluggish and there is nothing much in it for pacers but India's 'B' Company has been relentless - hitting the right areas and keeping a nagging line. Bhuvneshwar has taken six wickets, one behind leader Rashid Khan, from three games while Bumrah has grabbed five wickets and both have maintained an economy well under four. The Indian pace duo has been on the money and Pakistan top order batsmen have a big task at their hand.
3. The variety in Indian spin line-up vs Pakistan batting
India have a leg-spinner (Yuzvendra Chahal), chinaman (Kuldeep Yadav), left-arm spinner (Ravindra Jadeja) and off-spinner (Kedar Jadhav). The variety is just mind-boggling. And they are all among wickets too. Kuldeep and Chahal wrecked Hong Kong while Jadhav derailed Pakistan in the league phase with a three-wicket haul and Jadeja darted out Bangladesh with a four-wicket haul in the Super Four stage. A pitch on which batsmen cannot really go through with their shots, these bowlers have found their old chapel and Pakistan batsmen will have to find a way to score runs without losing wickets.