Sunday, March 18, 2012

Preview, Asia Cup, Pakistan versus India, Dhaka

It is almost impossible to pen a preview for a match between such heated rivals with nearly 1.5 billion people hanging off the moves of every player.  The only thing that you can be certain of is the glorious uncertainty with heroes and villains alike being born to be passed from the lips of one generation to the next.


The key to the match is not so much the calibre of the players skill, but more so the steel that exists in their mind to be able to perform in such a pressure cooker match. Duly lets see which Team has the best chance to pull off a victory in this tightly contested Asian Cup match.


Pakistan
Likely Team


The only change to the Team is likely to be an extra batsman coming in to prop up the weaker aspect of the Team with this being made possible with Umar Akmal taking the gloves. Leaving the Team as follows


Mohammad Hafeez,  Nasir Jamshed,  Younis Khan,  Umar Akmal (wk),  Misbah-ul-Haq (capt),  Asad Shafiq,  Hammad Azam,  Shahid Afridi,  Umar Gul,  Saeed Ajmal,  Aizaz Cheema 


The Keys for Pakistan to Win


In truth, India is a perfect opposition for Pakistan in the regard that it has a very weak bowling unit that has been misfiring badly in recent times. Which plays perfectly into Pakistan's hands for the weakness in their Team is their batting. Duly it gives the chance for the batting to find some form against a somewhat weak bowling unit.


The key for Pakistan is for their batsmen to put the Indian bowlers under pressure from ball one making them feel the acid on them to perform after them getting flayed by Bangladesh. 


A huge part in making this a reality is the opening pair of Mohammad Hafees and Nasir Jamshed performing. Then crucially the virtual 'sleeping giant' in Younis Khan at 3 awakening from his recent slumbers in ODI Cricket and this tournament which has seen him score just 34 from his last 4 games.


The man known as YK is a noted big game performer with ice in his veins when the heat is at its most intense. So the Indians will know they have to keep a lid on him and see the back of him early for they would respect his ability to play a match defining innings in this game.


I am a huge fan of his and can see him being a huge presence in this clash


The lower middle order of the resolute Misbah ul Haq and the incendiary Umar Akmal provide a duo that can play decisive knocks for which they have already done in the tournament.


And just out of respect for the game and the billions watching wouldn't a bit of BOOM BOOM from Shahid Afridi be well received?


You never know, the Pakistan powers that be might see the merits of sending Afridi in up the order as a pinch hitter in the hope of such a proud warrior being uplifted by the occasion


If there is a slight question mark over the Teams batting then there is no doubt at all over the calibre of its bowling.


Which is truly of the highest calibre and perfectly balanced in both pace and spin.


Duly, if Pakistan's batting can perform to a adequate standard, you can see their bowling strength leading them to victory.


India
Likely Team


The Indians were left reeling after the remarkable victory by Bangladesh against them that was born out of their bowling weakness being fully victimised. They have been badly exposed without the services of the wily veterans in Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh, and no matter how they shuffle their bowling deck its hard to see them finding many aces.


This being said, the likely inclusion of Vinay Kumar for Ashok Dinda is a positive move for the Team. Making the Team as follows:


Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Irfan Pathan, R Ashwin, R Vinay Kumar, Praveen Kumar 


The Keys for India to Win


Much in the same manner of Pakistan, the key for India will be how their batting performs.


In the case of India the batting needs to carry the Teams bowling by putting up a total that will allow the bowlers the benefit of scoreboard pressure or conversely batting to their potential to chase a big total.


It would be a huge benefit for India to bat first and put up a total for in a game where the pressure is so intense chasing a total is skewed because of the acid on the players.


Making 220 feel like 250, 250 feel like 300 and 300 feel like a virtual Mount Everest to climb!


Scoring against Pakistan's excellent attack will not be easy, but for all the class evident in Pakistan's bowling it is matched and even bettered in India's batting.


They have some of the best ODI batsmen in the World with Virat Kohli arguably being the best in the World at present and M.S.Dhoni remarked on as being the best finisher in the games history. Throw in the class and calibre of Suresh Raina and a man proven in big matches in Gautam Gambir, and the class is there for all to see.


Oh yes....there is a man named Sachin Tendulkar too..................


You might have heard of him?


This game is like a bed for the Little Master to lie in with him having dealt with more pressure in his Life than arguably anyone on Planet Earth.


So in this game you can see him being pumped to grace it with a master class!


As for the bowling it is hard to have much faith in it with how they have been performing of late. In their defence is the fact that all have put in quality performances in International Cricket before so the gravity and meaning of this game might see them rise to the occasion.


If they can to support the excellent batting adequately it will present India's best chance of winning


Prediction


I am going to predict a classic match that will end in a TIE with the real victor being Cricket as a whole


LOL!

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