Asia Cup: India take on Pakistan as Rahul, Bumrah return

Colombo: Amidst the threat of rains, India is likely to field experienced pros KL Rahul and Jasprit Bumrah in the crucial match against arch-rivals Pakistan in the third match of the Super-4 stage at R Premadasa Stadium here on Sunday.
Last Saturday, both teams met at Pallekele, but unfortunately rain played a spoilsport just when the match was building up to an exciting climax. The interruptions caused significant delays, and despite the best efforts of the ground staff, the match was called off with no result, leaving both teams and fans disappointed.
The weather continues to be a threat at Premadasa tomorrow as well. Weathermen predict 90 per cent precipitation, but fortunately, a reserve day has been allocated for this match apart from the finals. India’s match against Nepal too was affected by rains.
Rahul, who has not played any international match since July, might be fielded tomorrow, which could deny in-form Ishan Kishan match despite scoring four half-centuries on the trot.
Bumrah, who missed the match against Nepal for the birth of his first child Angad, rejoined the squad and would be eager to swing his arms against Pakistan. His return would force the think tank to bench Mohammad Shami.
One of the most notable highlights of the recent match was the outstanding performance of Pakistan’s Shaheen Afridi, who achieved a remarkable feat by dismissing both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. This achievement marked a significant moment in the match, putting Pakistan in a favorable position.
At the end of 14.1 overs, India was struggling at 66/4, facing a daunting situation.
Hardik Pandya joined Kishan in the middle, and together they embarked on a rescue mission for India.
Kishan continued his impressive form in One Day Internationals, crafting a composed innings of 82 runs from 81 balls. The duo orchestrated a vital partnership of 138 runs off 141 deliveries, resurrecting India’s innings and providing much-needed stability.
Hardik, showcasing immense patience and resilience, contributed significantly with the bat, accumulating 87 runs off 90 deliveries.
Despite the heroic efforts of Pandya and Kishan, the Pakistani seamers mounted a spirited comeback. India’s lower order collapsed, losing their last six wickets for a mere 62 runs.
In the end, India managed to post a total of 266 runs, and the innings concluded in 48.5 overs. However, not a single ball was boowled in the second innings and the match was called off with no result.
In the last five years of India vs Pakistan ODI contests, Rohit Sharma has been India’s standout performer with an impressive tally of 617 runs.
On the Pakistani side, Shoaib Malik has been their top run-scorer in these encounters with 242 runs, closely followed by Babar Azam with 208 runs among the active players.
When it comes to wicket-takers, Kuldeep Yadav has been India’s go-to bowler with 10 wickets, while Mohammad Amir has made a significant impact for Pakistan with 6 wickets.
Afridi also has 4 wickets to his name among the active Pakistani players.
The venue for this much-anticipated clash has seen its fair share of historic matches.
The average first innings score at this ground has consistently hovered around 253 runs, with the pitch favoring spinners more than pacers. The ground’s history suggests that batting first gives teams a slight advantage, with batting teams winning 75 times and chasing teams winning 55 times.
The India-Pakistan cricket rivalry is the stuff of legends, and their head-to-head statistics reflect the fierce competition.
In a total of 132 encounters, Pakistan holds a slight edge with 73 victories, while India has claimed victory 55 times. Their battles in the Asia Cup have been particularly thrilling, with India winning 6 times and Pakistan 5 times out of 13 ODI faceoffs.

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