World Cup 2019: Looking ahead to the high voltage India vs Pakistan encounter
It's time again to set the dice rolling for the 7th time in the history of World Cups. A match-up that is marred by the political tension between the two nations and hence takes place every 4 years, is all set to captivate the fans once again on Sunday.
India would be oozing confidence as they have an unbeaten record of 6 World Cup wins in as many games against Pakistan. On the contrary, Pakistan would be fretting over the same, desperate to break the dreaded jinx.
There is always tremendous hype surrounding this high-voltage encounter. However, all the games played between the two sides at the World Cup have ended up being fairly one-sided.
India have set the target on five out of the six occasions and Pakistan have buckled under the pressure of the chase each time. We could well see the same trend continuing at Manchester this time around.
Another notable feature in a majority of these games has been the dropped catches and run-outs at crucial stages.
With Pakistan having just won a solitary game at World Cup 2019 so far, they will be under severe pressure to overcome the Indian challenge and remain in contention for the semi-finals.
Results at Manchester
The last time Pakistan played at Manchester was way back in 2003 against England. Interesting fact: Mohammad Hafeez was the Man of the match in that low-scoring thriller.
India played their last game in 2007 and ended up on the losing side against England. Interesting fact: Dinesh Karthik and MS Dhoni featured in that game.
For India, it will all circle around one man who has wreaked havoc several times against Pakistan in the past - Virat Kohli. If he delivers again, a victory will be more or less assured.
However, it will be important for the openers to lay a solid foundation to enable a Virat Kohli masterclass.. And that won't be an easy task for Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul against the pace attack of Pakistan, especially early on when the ball swings.
For Pakistan, the responsibility will be on the seniors to step up and ensure that there's no panic. Mohammad Amir and his new ball opening partner will be vital; they will have to make early inroads. With the bat, the onus will be on Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik to hold up Pakistan's batting.
Also read - Lowest total defended in world cup