Every time India and Pakistan meet, there’s an electrifying atmosphere. Doesn’t matter the venue, when matches involve these two cricketing nations, there is seldom an empty seat found in that particular stadium. Supporters of the erstwhile rivals throng the stadium in the hope of catching yet another nail-biting encounter When these two teams meet during the biggest cricketing contest, the excitement and temptation of enjoying the battle reaches a whole new level of frenzy. Come the 15th of February, these two nations will stop whatever they are doing and turn on their TV sets in the hope of catching their country go one better against their bitter neighbours.
Since 1992, these teams have met each other 5 times (in World Cups) and India have had the last laugh every time. The odds are stacked heavily against Pakistan with India winning the mind battle everytime in the past while they have just succumbed under the pressure that comes with playing in such a competition.
Strength and Weaknesses
Building up to the world cup 2015, India will try their best to put the demons of their two month infamous tour of Australia behind them. Apart from Afghanistan, India haven’t registered a single victory during their whole tour of Australia so far and Pakistan will be aware of the low confidence in the Indian dressing room presently. Bowlers are repeatedly failing to take ten wickets and even during their match against Afghanistan, they failed to bowl them out which depicts some serious dearth in spine in the Indian bowling attack at the moment.
While the batting is India’s mainstay, there are still some players who are yet to find their form. Virat Kohli had done exceedingly well in the test series and perhaps the mental pressure of captaining India has eventually caught up with him largely contributing to his failure in the tri series and also in the warm up matches. MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina also need to disturb the scoreboard more often as they form India’s crucial middle order. With Dhawan and Rohit Sharma in form, India need a platform right from the start.
Pakistan have some big names missing in their bowling attack but the tall Mohammad Irfan and the youngster Ehsan Adil have impressed. Wahab Riaz did well in the last world cup meeting against India and the onus will be on him and Irfan to rip through the Indian top order.
Misbah-ul-Haq and Umar Akmal have hit form at the right time and they will be crucial for Pakistan’s chances as they form the middle order with veteran Younis Khan. Shahid Afridi has the habit of performing well against India. Indian bowlers dearly need to get all these hard hitters if they want to win. This job will undoubtedly be a bit tough from the last time as bowlers lack the world cup experience. With Ishant Sharma injured, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav have the job of picking up early wickets.
History says that Pakistan perform badly when under pressure and this is another reason why they have never beaten India in world cups. India on the other hand capitalize on the mistakes made by Pakistan players ultimately deciding the fate of the match.
If present form is taken into consideration, Pakistan maybe firm favourites but you just can’t take anything away from Dhoni and Co. as they have the tendency to give their best in big tournaments. They look altogether a different team while playing multi nation competitions with the most recent example being winning the Champions Trophy 2013.
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (capt & wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Stuart Binny, R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav
Pakistan: Ahmed Shehzad, Nasir Jamshed, Younis Khan, Haris Sohail, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Sohaib Maqsood, Umar Akmal (wk), Shahid Afridi, Wahab Riaz, Ehsan Adil, Mohammad Irfan
So altogether, we hope for an exciting, thrilling and an