Asian Champions Trophy 2018: India vs Pakistan preview, telecast, date, start time and where to watch online
Defending champions India began their campaign with an emphatic 11-0 win against the hosts on Thursday while Pakistan displayed their brilliance as they outplayed South Korea 3-1 at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat, Oman yesterday.
Up next, is the epic subcontinental clash - but does Pakistan, who have lost the services of Dutchman Roelant Oltmans, have the quality to put it across the Indians, who were in ominous form in their opener, and also enjoy the advantage of an extra day's rest?
The hockey world watches with bated breath as the two of the oldest rivals of the game clash for the 174th time in history. The Indians have been inching ahead to close the gap in terms of the overall numbers, ever since they beat Pakistan 3-2 in a round-robin match of the previous edition of the Asian Champions Trophy.
At Pahang, in 2016, the Indians, coached by Roelant Oltmans, outplayed Pakistan with a similar scoreline in the finals as well, and a year later, demolished their arch rivals by a 7-1 margin in the HWL Semifinal at London, following it up with another 6-1 win a week later.
Sjoerd Marijne took over the Indian camp just before the Asia Cup last year, but it made little difference to the overall outcome as his boys defeated Pakistan 3-1 in the group stages and 4-0 in the Super 4s.
After Oltmans switched camps, Pakistan did seem to regain a bit of the old magic and held India to a 2-2 draw in a group match of the Commonwealth Games - albeit, in controversial circumstances via a disputed PC earned at the death.
Oltmans had played the role of an advisor to Harendra Singh as the two men guided the Indian colts to victory at the 2016 Junior World Cup in Lucknow, but found themselves pitted against each other after the latter was given the responsibility of coaching the Indian seniors before the prestigious Champions Trophy.
In the opener at Breda, Pakistan fought hard but fell apart in the final quarter, going down 1-4, and lost the Asian Games bronze medal to India after losing by a narrow 1-2 margin.
The Dutchman did the unexpected by announcing his departure from the Pakistan camp just a couple of months before the World Cup, and legendary striker Hassan Sardar, who led his team to a historic gold medal at the Los Angeles Olympics, will have the unenviable task of mentoring a side who are now a shadow of their former selves.
Harendra Singh's team will start as overwhelming favorites today but the Indian coach knows just as well as other hockey observers do that writing Pakistan off is always done at one's own peril.
Sardar told Sportskeeda that he firmly believes his boys are capable of beating the Indians - a tough ask, indeed, as Pakistan has been striving unsuccessfully to record an elusive 83rd win even as the Indians are closing in on their 62nd.
Irrespective of the result, expect nothing less than a potboiler as the two great hockey nations get set to engage in yet another grand duel.
Here is how you can catch all the action:
Event: Asian Champions Trophy 2018
Venue: Muscat, Oman
Date: 20 October 2018
Time: 10:40 pm Indian Standard Time (IST)
Telecast: Star Sports 2, Star Sports HD2
Live Streaming: Hotstar
Live Updates: Sportskeeda