‘The clash of the titans’, ‘The arch-rivals face off’, ‘The ultimate battle’ - the list of hyperbolic statements can go on and on when it comes to Pakistan India playing against each other in any sporting event. The (not so) friendly neighbours will battle it out once again on the 4th of June at Edgbaston. Needless to say there will some high voltage drama and lots of tension on and off the field.
The T20, ODI and Test series win in the Caribbean for Pakistan could not have come at a better time. They enter the Champions Trophy with a confident squad under the gutsy leadership of Sarfraz Ahmed.
Pakistan were the first ones to reach England to set up their training camp and have also played their set of two warm-up matches in Birmingham. The first one against Bangladesh saw the emergence of Fahim Ashraf. Pakistan were 247 for 8 while chasing a stiff target of 342 when Fahim Ashraf and Hassan Ali decided to take charge: an incredible 9th wicket partnership of 93 runs off just 39 balls. The second warm-up against Australia got abandoned due to rain.
Fahim Ashraf scored a quickfire 64 from 30 balls in the warm-up match against Bangladesh
India had a highly successful home season. They enter the Champions Trophy with a settled unit under the captaincy of Virat Kohli. The defending champions played their set of two warm-up games at the Oval. In the first game, the Indian pacers got the better of the Kiwi batsmen as they were dismissed for 189, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami taking 3 wickets each. India won by 45 runs on the DLS method. In the second warm-up match the batsmen managed to put up 324 on the board with Hardik Pandya the top scorer with 80*(54). In the second half of the match the Indian pacers annihilated the Bangladesh team, getting them all out for 84. Bhuvenshwar and Umesh Yadav picked up 3 wickets each this time.
This will be the first time both teams will clash in an ODI since their last meeting in the 2015 ICC World Cup. A lot has changed for both teams since then, with changes in leadership being at the forefront. India is the stronger team, but Sarfraz Ahmed will lead from the front to ensure his team fights till the end.
Just like the old times, India have a settled batting unit, their fielding is impeccable and above all they have a more than decent pace attack which is well supported by Ravichandaran Ashwin and Ravinder Jadeja.
Pakistan is a well spirited unit with lots of youngsters and improved fielding. Their below-par batting will be dependent on the experienced Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez. The bowling charge will be lead by Mohammad Amir and Hassan Ali, their two more successful bowlers in recent times.
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikar Dhawan, Virat Kohli(c), Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhon(wk)i, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Pakistan: Ahmad Shahzad, Sarfraz Ahmed(c/wk), Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Harris Sohail, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Fahim Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir
Virat Kohli: He scored a century the last time these two teams faced off in an ODI and averages 41.44 vs Pakistan. He would also want to improve his batting record in England.
Hassan Ali: Pakistan have found a decent right arm fast bowler in Hassan Ali. This will be his first match against India in any format and we can expect him to shine. His weapon of choice would be his clever variations.
Shadab Khan: This new kid on the block is the one to watch out for. He will trouble the Indian batsmen with his deadly wrong ‘uns.
Pakistan and India have played 128 ODIs so far, out which Pakistan have won 72 times and India 51. If the trend of these two teams facing off each other only in the ICC tournaments continues, the bragging rights of head-to-head lead are here to stay with Pakistani fans.
Champions trophy is the only ICC tournament where Pakistan have been able to beat India: Pakistan lead India 2-1
India have beaten Pakistan in the last edition of the Champions Trophy at the same venue, Edgbaston.
Pakistan have played 11 games at Edgbaston and lost 7. India have played 8 and won 5.