Bowlers from India and Pakistan who can save the match for their team on Sunday
The 2015 Cricket World Cup is underway, and the opening weekend is an absolute blockbuster. New Zealand took on Sri Lanka and England battled against Australia to kick things off, but the real show-stopper is tomorrow. It’s India vs Pakistan, and sports contests don’t really get bigger than this.
The match between the arch rivals will have fans watching not only from the subcontinent but from all over the world. Here's a look at 6 bowlers from both teams who will have key roles to play in the marquee clash.
1. Mohammad Irfan
The 7’1” left-arm pacer could prove to be extremely handy with his ability to bowl quick as well as extract good bounce. Irfan has had a strong start to his ODI career – he has played 40 matches for Pakistan so far and has taken 57 wickets at an economy rate of 4.89. With Pakistan's bowling attack lacking in experience, they will look to Irfan to provide them the early breakthroughs against India.
2. Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja is one of the key bowlers for MS Dhoni, especially in the limited-overs format of the game. The 26-year-old has picked up 134 wickets in 111 ODIs at an economy rate of 4.81, and was one of the key players when India won the Champions Trophy in England in 2013, picking up 12 wickets in 5 matches. He would once again have to play an important role if India are to do well at the World Cup, and in tomorrow’s clash against Pakistan in particular.
3. Wahab Riaz
The left-arm pacer will have an important role to play for his side, especially after Junaid khan was ruled out prior to the start of the tournament. In 47 ODIs Riaz has taken 61 wickets, and he possesses an economy rate of 5.64. His best performance came against India in the semifinal of the 2011 World Cup, where he took 5 for 46 to help restrict India to a score of 260. Captain Misbah Ul-Haq will be hoping that he replicates that feat tomorrow.
4. Mohit Sharma
Mohit Sharma will be expected to utilize his IPL experience of bowling at the death as India look to stem the flow of runs at the end of the innings. The right arm pacer was brought into the squad to replace the injured Ishant Sharma, and will need to justify his selection by putting in consistent spells with the ball. Having played in 12 ODIs, Mohit has taken 10 wickets while giving away 4.98 runs per over. He has shown in the IPL that he can bowl the slower ball very well, and he will need that delivery to be on target if India are to bowl well in the final overs against Pakistan.
5. Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi will be playing his final 50-over tournament at this year’s edition of the World Cup, and will look to play a major role in helping his side reclaim the title after a gap of 23 long years. In 391 ODIs, the 34-year-old has taken 393 wickets at an economy rate of 4.62, with best figures of 7 for 12 recorded against the West Indies. Afridi has also scored 7,948 runs with the bat, with most of them coming at a thunderous pace. With the Men in Green missing the services of Saeed Ajmal, they will be relying on Afridi to deliver with the ball in the spin department.
6. Umesh Yadav
Umesh Yadav will provide MS Dhoni with the extra yard of pace in the fast bowling department. The 27-year-old has played 40 ODIs for his country, picking up 49 wickets at an economy of 5.90. But he has been rather erratic during his short career so far, and captain Dhoni will be hoping that he gets his act together at the mega event, as his extra pace could prove to be the trick. Yadav will likely be the quickest bowler on show in the mega battle against Pakistan, so he could well be the trump card that makes the difference in this electrifying encounter.