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Preview: Asia Cup – India vs Pakistan

Arch rivals to clash in virtual semi-final


The sixth match of 2014 Asia Cup, between India and Pakistan


Sunday, March 2, 2014 (08:00 GMT| 14:00 Local | 13:30 IST)


Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, Bangladesh

The Teams


A lower-order collapse, miscommunication and collisions among fielders and the chances that went begging: India have only themselves to blame for being in the perform-or-perish situation they find themselves in. With Pakistan too needing a win to stay alive in the Asia Cup, Virat Kohli’s young team are in an unenviable position of pressure.

India felt the absence of MS Dhoni in the lower-order, against Sri Lanka when the dismissal of the top-four batsmen triggered a collapse that rendered them at least 20 runs short of what looked like a certain target. Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik and Stuart Binny failed to perform their lower-order duties, and while wicketkeeper Karthik is indispensible, the other two must be feeling the pressure.

Against the strong bowling attack of Pakistan, India would need someone to solidify the innings, hence opening the possibility of playing Cheteshwar Pujara in place of Ambati Rayudu. Since Binny, the all-rounder, bowled only four overs (one less than Rohit Sharma), there is a case of strengthening the bowling by including either leg-spinner Amit Mishra (who is also a decent lower-order bat) or pacer Ishwar Pandey.


Like their cross-border neighbours, Pakistan too have a win and a defeat under their belt. However, a bonus point against Afghanistan puts them higher on the points table. Like India, they too went down to Sri Lanka in a tight contest with little contribution from their lower-order.
While bowling is their strong suit, inconsistency in batting often mars the Pakistani side. In this tournament so far, however, the top six batsmen have combined well together and that augers well for the team against the relatively inexperienced Indian bowling attack.

Key Players


Getting a good start against the Pakistani pacers will be the key for India. With Rohit Sharma going out of touch once again, the onus will be on the in-form Shikhar Dhawan to play a long innings. On the personal front, Shikhar will be keen to breach the three-figure mark that he has missed it by a whisker twice now in a fortnight.


Umar Gul, with his ability to seam the ball around and generate the awkward bounce, will be quite handful for the Indian batsmen to handle in the first 10-15 overs. Rohit Sharma’s tendencies to fish outside the off-stump and Shikhar’s penchant to for the square of the wicket could prove an interesting aspect for Gul to work on and exploit in the early overs. His controlled line and length will also make Gul handy against India’s susceptible lower-order in the death over.


India-Pakistan in ODIs










in Bangladesh





at all neutral venues





in Asia Cup





Venue Stats

Overall: Matches – 70

Won by side batting first – 31

Won by side batting second- 39

Last 5 matches:

Won by side batting first – 4

Won by side batting second- 1

Average first innings total at Mirpur

Overall 227

Last 5 matches 244

Pace vs Spin at Mirpur

(Last 5 matches)



















Ravindra Jadeja will be playing his 100th match.

In last three years Pakistan have never chased down a 250-plus target.

Misbah-ul-Haq has the highest aggregate (4457) and most fifties (36) among the batsmen who have never scored a ODI hundred.


India: Virat Kohli (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Varun Aaron, Stuart Binny, Amit Mishra, Mohammad Shami, Ishwar Pandey, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja.

Pakistan: Misbal-ul-Haq (capt), Ahmed Shahzad, Abdur Rehman, Anwar Ali, Bilawal Bhatti, Fawad Alam, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Talha, Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi, Sharjeel Khan, Shoaib Maqsood, Umar Akmal, Umar Gul.

Shirin Sadikot & Rajneesh Gupta

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We could have scored 25-30 runs more: Kohli

India skipper calls for smarter shot selection, rues missed fielding opportunities

The Virat Kohli-led Indian team was out-batted by the experienced Kumar Sangakkara in their second league match of the 2014 Asia Cup. Asked to bat first, the Men in Blue put up “25-30 runs” less than they would have liked against Sri Lanka as per Kohli.

While speaking to the media later in the day, the Indian skipper mentioned that the loss of Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane and Dinesh Karthik’s wickets were the turning points in the game. “We lost them in quick succession in about 20-25 runs. I think that was something that really hurt us during our batting because we were 175-odd for two. From there on, I think, we were in a position to get to 300, but we lost those three quick wickets.”

“And while fielding, we probably should have grabbed those half-chances when we got them. Even on the last ball, you never know. They needed one run and if we had taken that catch, we could have probably got (Lasith) Malinga out. It’s all what happens on the field and we just need to be smarter and more professional in our fielding as well,” he added.

“In the first two overs itself there were two lbw shouts that were very close, and then we also missed chances. That happens in cricket, getting a favourable decision or not, but the chances that we get, we should at least hold on to. I think that (missed chances) hurt us. But overall, I think we didn’t play as smartly as we had done against Bangladesh. While batting also, we could have scored 25-30 runs more if we had played more responsibly,” Kohli said.

Asked if he ran out of options after 45 overs in Sri Lanka’s innings, Kohli explained, “The plan was to take wickets. Defending 265-odd on that sort of wicket with the Sri Lankan batting and the dew coming in, it’s very difficult for the bowlers to contain them. I think we did a really good job in taking wickets at regular intervals and put them under a lot of pressure. You can end up feeling you are a bowler short, but you need to back up your fast bowlers to bowl yorkers for you. But as I said, all in all, the bowling group did a very good job today.”

“The plan was just to play that extra batsman with Stuart (Binny) and bowl 10 overs between Stuart, Rohit (Sharma) and (Ambati) Rayudu. But when you have dew in the end, there’s not much that even a regular fast bowler can do. In the last 10 overs, there was quite a bit of dew. But I think the bowlers did really well on that sort of wicket, with the dew coming in and Kumar Sangakkara set as well.”

Asked if an extra specialist spinner would have helped, Kohli remarked, “The toss is very crucial in these sort of places. If Sri Lanka was bowling second with three spinners, with the ball not turning, it becomes even easier for the batsmen to just hit the ball through the line. It’s just a matter of luck what you do at the toss. I mean if they had lost the toss and they were bowling three spinners later on, I don’t think they would have had the same kind of success they had in the first innings. I would rather strengthen my batting. We had that idea, but it didn’t pay off for us, so we need to go back to the drawing board and see what we can do from here.”

India’s strongest suit, batting, would be facing a tougher challenge against Pakistan on Sunday, March 2. Speaking about the Indian line-up, Kohli said, “We need to analyse situations and play accordingly. These guys are inexperienced, but these sort of games will teach them how they should be batting in different situations. I think in the first game, Rahane batted brilliantly alongside me. This game, Shikhar was going well, but we need one more guy to sort of play with the guy who is batting through. That puts your team in a strong position. I think we just need to be smarter in our shot selection and know what time to play what sort of shot.”

Speaking about India’s young middle order, Kohli said, “The idea is that I want to bat through and have people bat around me in the middle order, because they are inexperienced. So as much as they can bat in different situations, it will be good for them as it was for Ajinkya in the first game. But it doesn’t happen every time in cricket. As I said, they need to learn from their mistakes and just be smart about their cricket. I know they are very intelligent cricketers, they are very capable cricketers – that’s why they are playing for India. But you know sometimes in international cricket, you get bogged down in different situations and you tend to make mistakes. But that’s how you learn from them.”

BCCI Staff

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