Pakistan is gearing for the tournament's sell-out against arch-rivals India on Sunday. Many boisterous fans in the subcontinent, in particular, would have marked this date months ago on their calendars. The tickets for the mouthwatering affair were sold online within 48 hours. Extraneous factors could overwhelm players in this blockbuster fixture and the history will play in the minds as well. The onus will be primarily on senior pros who must step up on the big stage.
While Pakistan will be ruing not having been able to seize the big moments against Australia the other day, India will be riding high on confidence as they tamed the defending champions with ease. Babar Azam holds the key for Pakistan to post an impregnable total or chase one down if they bat second. He was batting on another level against Australia, timing the ball sweetly and his short and breezy innings of 30 got applause from many admirers of the game. The technician forms the spine of Pakistan's batting line-up, will be extra judicious against the dynamic Indian attack spearheaded by Jasprit Bumrah who hasn't yet put a foot wrong in this World Cup. His unorthodox action and ability to generate ferocious speed from a short run-up has trapped many big guns and so avoiding falling prey to his thunderbolts will be a defining phase of the match.
The dramatic turnaround for Mohammad Amir in his debut ODI World Cup is a great omen for Pakistan because him getting back in the wickets column and finding his groove will make Indian batting circumspect and they might just want to see him off with the new ball. If he dismantles any of those big guns at the top order comprising of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, Pakistan will have a good chance to get through the lower middle order. Another compelling spell of bowling similar to the one he delivered in the same territory a few years ago will put Pakistan in a commanding position.
A big innings from Shoaib Malik is long overdue and the next match is a great opportunity to redeem himself. He averages 48.16 in 41 matches against India which shall raise his spirits.
Also Read: 5 reasons Pakistan can topple India In CWC19
The headspace in Pakistan's dug-out is another significant factor as they can't afford to reel from the wounds of the close defeat in the last game. Self-belief can do magical things in our life. It allows us to dispel jitters and helps us do wonders. The tail wagged and those late cameos from Hasan Ali and Wahab Riaz against Australia showed that the team is up for a fight. The never say never trait after a failure is what makes Pakistan team unique and what helped them lift the ICC Champions Trophy in 2017. That same grit will be conducive to make upcoming Pakistan India match a gripping contest that should live up to its expectations.
Oscillating between highs and lows cannot be the order of the day because Pakistan had a washout against Sri Lanka, a one-sided affair against the West Indies and the sucker punch against Australia means that they are left hanging by a thread as far as their chances for making it to the semi-finals are concerned. It's about tidying up their act and curtailing the errors. There is no doubt about the ability of this team to take down any opposition. They demonstrated that emphatically against England in no uncertain terms due to a coordinated team effort.