India face a shock exit from the competition if they lose to Pakistan on Sunday afternoon. Richard O'Hagan previews what should be a tense game between traditional rivals.
"Irfan Pathan looked like a duck stuck on a motorway when opening the innings"
India v Pakistan
Sky Sports 3
India turned in their worst batting performance so far against Australia. Leaving out Virender Sehwag to allow them to play five specialist bowlers was a bold gamble, but Irfan Pathan looked like a duck stuck on a motorway when opening the innings and Sehwag surely has to return for this game. That will mean a bowler making way, with Piyush Chawla the likely candidate.
Pakistan will be relieved to have won their opening game. After bowling out South Africa very cheaply, including an inspired opening spell from spinner Reza Hasan, they somehow managed to lose eight wickets along the way to victory. Indeed, it was only an eighth wicket partnership of 49 between Umars Akmal and Gul that ensured victory at all, the rest of the batsmen having to a man been guilty of throwing their wickets away. Despite this, it is unlikely that they will make any changes to their lineup, leaving their four-pronged spin attack to the fore despite being up against opponents far more adept at playing the turning ball than the South Africans were.
In a big match like this, with pride at stake as well as the result, look no further than MS Dhoni. The Indian captain often saves his best performances for the big occasion and is not afraid to take responsibility by pushing himself up the order from his usual position of number seven. Back him at odds of [5.5].
Pakistan will have been hugely disappointed by their batting performance against South Africa, with too many batsmen falling to reckless shots in a game they should have won very easily. Expect them to err more on the said of caution against their traditional rivals. This means that opening batsmen will be the favoured choice and although Imran Nazir has been in good form the better bet is captain Mohammed Hafeez, who will be keen to atone for the mistakes of Friday and who rarely has two consecutive poor innings in this form of the game. He should be available at odds of around [4.7]
Back MS Dhoni at 5.59/2 to be top India batsman
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