Former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar has kept Pakistan ahead of India ahead of the clash of the arch-rivals in Dubai on Wednesday (September 19).
The last time the two arch-rivals played what is always an emotionally charged fixture -- the final of the Champions Trophy last year -- Pakistan thrashed India by 180 runs.
"Pakistan is the favourite only because the big psychological advantage that they have of beating India in the final of the Champions Trophy," said Gavaskar, a member of India's 1983 World Cup-winning side.
"The previous game or the ball before... always stays at the back of your mind and that creates a touch of uncertainty in your mind."
"And Virat's absence is going to be crucial as well," the former captain said on Indian TV Channel Aaj Tak.
Former Indian batsman Sanjay Manjrekar echoed Gavaskar's views, saying "Pakistan start as favourites because they have been playing in those conditions".
The UAE has been the home ground for Pakistan since 2009. Having better knowledge of the conditions is what keeps Pakistan ahead of India in the contest. India hold the edge in Asia Cup encounters against Pakistan with a 6-5 lead in 12 matches. But Pakistan have a big 73-52 lead overall in 129 ODI games.
(With Inputs from Economic Times)