Both India and Pakistan have injury blows ahead of their Super Four encounter on Sunday. Shahnawaz Dahani will miss out due to a suspected side strain, while Team India will miss Avesh Khan and Ravindra Jadeja, the latter being a more significant blow as he suffered a severe knee injury and will miss out on the T20I World Cup.
The group game between the two sides proved that there isn’t much to separate them. However, a 100% win ratio in the group stage puts India in the driver’s seat to win their first Super Four game.
Deepak Hooda will be India’s last-minute replacement for Avesh Khan, considering the pitch conditions. Axar Patel will make it to the playing XI as a replacement for Ravindra Jadeja. Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya look settled in the No. 4 and No. 5 positions, respectively. Dinesh Karthik will come at No 6, leaving no room for Rishabh Pant in the playing XI. KL Rahul’s 36-run knock has revived his opening spot.
India’s batting concerns have shifted positions in the top order. Before the Asia Cup started, Virat Kohli’s form was a concern. However, Rohit Sharma has scored only 33 runs in the first two games. His Average in T20Is against Pakistan has dropped to 13.66, while his Strike Rate has fallen to 112.32. With these numbers, India’s top order suddenly looks average in front of Pakistan. Head coach Rahul Dravid has shown confidence in India’s seam-bowling unit, however, having previously stated that India’s seam bowlers might not bowl consistently over the 140kmph mark but are more effective than their counterparts.
Like India, Pakistan are also fighting injury battles. Either of Hasan Ali or Mohammad Hasnain will replace Shahnawaz Dahani, who becomes Pakistan’s third fast bowler to miss out, though he is expected to return before the end of the tournament. Nazeem Shah bowled his heart out on his debut in the previous game against India and reported injury concerns after the game. Thankfully, there was no significant damage as he returned to action against Hong Kong.
Pakistan’s dominant performance against Hong Kong have boosted their confidence ahead of the Super Four stage. Their middle order got some essential runs, making them believe in themselves. Khushdil Shah was promoted to the No. 4 spot against Hong Kong and will likely retain his spot on Sunday. Babar Azam, who has looked great in his short performances in the previous two innings, needs to mind his shot selection. Unfortunately, the skipper has contributed only 19 runs in the last two games. Pakistan’s middle-order all-rounders also need to take ownership of scoring quick runs against stronger opponents.
Match: India vs Pakistan
Venue: Dubai International Cricket Stadium
Date: 4 September 2022
Time: 07:30 PM IST
Where to Watch: Star Sports Network | Disney+ Hotstar
Pitch report & Toss
The scorching heat in Dubai is expected to cause problems for the fast bowlers. The wicket still has some bounce. Fast bowlers will produce some bounce but will get no assistance from the wicket. India will be tempted to play three spinners if the wicket is dry. The side winning the toss will opt to bowl first.
Probable playing XI
India: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Yuzvendra Chahal
Pakistan: Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali
Total Matches: 10
India won: 8
Pakistan won: 2
Played at DSC: 2
India won: 1
Pakistan won: 1
Last five matches
India won: 4
Pakistan won: 1
India: Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav
Pakistan: Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Asif Ali
India: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh
Pakistan: Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf
Mohammad Rizwan, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Babar Azam, Deepak Hooda, Hardik Pandya, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Naseem Shah
Captain & Vice-captain picks
Captain: Virat Kohli, Babar Azam
Vice-captain: Shadab Khan, Deepak Hooda
The average first-innings score at the DSC is 142. If India bat first, they will score 165+; if Pakistan bat first, they might add around 150 runs. Spinners will have an impact during the middle overs. I back India to win this game.