The arch-rivals will resume their rivalry after a gap of over one year when they take on each other in the Asia Cup's Group A match on September 19. The last time when the two locked horns was in the Champions Trophy final, in which Pakistan thrashed India by 180 runs. The victory was huge considering the fact that it was an ICC event where India has always edged over the arch-rivals Pakistan. While India would be eager to take revenge, Pakistan will try their best to repeat the result.
Pakistan in their first group match of 2018 Asia Cup defeated Hong Kong by 8 wickets. As India is a very different and much stronger team compared to Hong Kong, Pakistan will put their best 11 on the field on September 19.
Pakistan's Squad for Asia Cup: Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (c & wk), Mohammad Amir, Babar Azam, Imam-ul-Haq, Asif Ali, Usman Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Junaid Khan, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Nawaz, Shan Masood, Shaheen Afridi
#1 Openers: Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman
Imam-ul-Haq, the nephew of Inzamam-ul-Haq, made a century in his debut match against Sri Lanka back in 2017 and he has not stopped since then. He already has 4 centuries in his bag in just 10 matches, the highest by any batsmen in his first 10 matches. He was in great touch against Hong Kong as he made an unbeaten 50.
Fakhar Zaman the man who destroyed Indian bowlers in the final of 2017 Champions Trophy, scoring 114 with a strike rate of 107.54, is still in the squad for Pakistan and there is no way he can be dropped out of the playing 11.
#2 One down: Babar Azam
Babar Azam who is seen as the next big thing in Pakistan's batting line-up will be coming in at no. 3 for Pakistan. In the last match against Hong Kong, he reached the mark of 2000 ODI runs, which he has scored at an average of 54.22. His wicket will be a prized one for Indian bowlers.
#3 Middle-Order: Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed and Asif Ali
Shoaib Malik has the most experience in the Pakistani squad, and he is also the most experienced player for Pakistan against India. He has a total of 9 centuries out of which 4 have come against India and also his batting average against India, 46.14, is higher than his career average of 35.12.
Other than Shoaib Malik Pakistan's middle-order will include captain Sarfraz Ahmed and the player who emerged from the Pakistan Super League, Asif Ali. Sarfraz's batting skills have deteriorated in the last few years but the way he has led Pakistan after Misbah-ul-Haq has been commendable.
#4 All-Rounders: Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf
Shadab Khan is yet another player who has been promoted from the PSL to the national team. Not only can he fool the best of the batsmen with his leg-break, but he can offer handy contributions with the bat also.
Faheem Ashraf who recently took a five-wicket haul against Zimbabwe is the next Abdul Razzaq for Pakistan. Other than his bowling, he is known for his power hitting as he showed in his debut match against Sri Lanka.
#5 Bowlers: Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali and Usman Khan/Junaid Khan
Mohammad Amir, the spearhead of Pakistan's bowling attack has a nice record against India. In the last few encounters, he shocked the India top order with his quality seam-bowling. Same goes for Hasan Ali who along with Amir destroyed India's innings in the final of 2017 Champions Trophy.
The only confusion that can be there for Pakistan is whether to pick fresher Usman Khan or the more experienced Junaid Khan, who was part of the team in the last encounter. Considering the experience factor, Junaid might get a place in the team.