Cricket World Cup 2011

Preview: India vs Pakistan

2011-03-30 10:00
India skipper MS Dhoni. (AFP)

Mohali - Beyond the hype this contest can perhaps be best viewed through the prism of the two captains. Shahid Afridi is the passionate, exhibitionist leader who doesn't mind showing his emotions on the field.

MS Dhoni is the uber-cool captain and, while he can be vocal while dealing with the press, he is almost invisible on the field. Silent nods of appreciation, a quiet word in the ear, calm instructions, a shrug of the shoulder is all you will get from him.

The two teams have a selection of the world's great players - Tendulkar in probably his last World Cup, and not yet a winner. Afridi with his incredible form with the ball. Sehwag with his ability to trounce any attack. Umar Gul, arguably the best exponent of reverse swing in the 2011 competition.

Tensions will run high both on and off the field, with political connotations creating a secondary but no less important framework around the fixture.

Both teams will seek to ignore this - favouring a focus on the cricket rather than anything else.

With all to play for, this contest promises to be an incredible event.

Form guide
Pakistan WWWLW

Watch out for...

Virender Sehwag - India's opener has a lust for runs, and a thirst for hitting spinners from the off - will he have as much success against Afridi?

Umar Gul:
After Lasith Malinga, Gul has probably the best control over the yorker in world cricket today. He is also an excellent exponent of reverse swing.

Sachin Tendulkar: The Little Master is looking for his 100th century, and what better place for him to achieve that than in this fixture?

Team news
The signs are that Ashish Nehra is likely to replace Munaf Patel. Even Yusuf Pathan has been sweating it out in the nets raising speculations that he might push R Ashwin hard for a spot in the team. Ashwin has been really good in the games he has played and has added some teeth to the attack while the nature of the patta track has made India think about bringing in Yusuf.

India (from): Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (capt & wk), Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan/R Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra

Pakistan are thinking of playing three seamers. The choice of the third seamer is between Shoaib and Wahab Riaz. Shoaib may not be fit, however, leaving the option for an extra spinner open.

Pakistan (from): Kamran Akmal (wk), Mohammad Hafeez, Asad Shafiq, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi (capt), Abdul Razzaq, Saeed Ajmal/Abdur Rehman, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz/Shoaib Akhtar.

Pitch and conditions
It's a batting pitch but what's eating up everyone is the dew factor.

Heavy storms, lightning and rain lashed Chandigarh late on Tuesday evening, immediately adding a light shroud of doubt over the game.

The weather forecast for Wednesday suggests sunshine during the day with minimal chance of heavy rain.

Punjab Cricket Association officials said that they had studied the forecasts for the period ending March 31 and there was "zero precipitation" expected. In simple terms, there were no strong rains expected on the day of the match.

Stats and trivia
Afridi is the first bowler in World Cup history to take four wickets in a match on four different occasions in a tournament.

MS Dhoni is the only wicket-keeper captain who has played in 100 ODIs.

Zaheer Khan is the second Indian bowler after Javagal Srinath (44 wickets) to take more than 40 wickets in World Cups. 


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