Having seen a one-sided match between the two arch-rivals earlier in the Asia Cup 2018, former Indian fast bowler Venkatesh Prasad is hoping to watch a highly exciting India-Pakistan clash this time in the Super 4 leg of the tournament.
While India won the group encounter by 8 wickets, this is a chance for Pakistan to make a comeback and get one over the best side in the competition so far and they would be desperate to prove a point.
Prasad in his column for Times of India, wrote, “The first India-Pakistan encounter in the Asia Cup may have turned out to be a lopsided affair, but the script of the second meeting — the Super 4 contest on Sunday — may well be an exciting one which could go down to the wire,”
In praise of India's overall performance so far, Prasad further noted, “Coming off a crushing Test series loss in England and the rusty show against Hong Kong in their tournament opener, India have regrouped admirably in all departments. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah in the pace department and Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav and Kedar Jadhav on the spin front have complemented the firing batting unit,” and wrote, “Against Bangladesh, it was heartening to see the return of Ravindra Jadeja to one-day Internationals after more than a year. I’m not surprised by his form because I’ve always believed Jadeja is better suited to the shorter format of the game."
On Pakistan's indifferent form so far despite coming into the event as firm favorites, Prasad feels, “On the other hand, Pakistan may have won the match against Afghanistan, but not before they were stretched to the last over. It took the experience of Shoaib Malik for them to cross the finish line."
"In addition to their batting, Pakistan will hope their spinner Shadab Khan to recover in time. The 19-year-old leg-spinning allrounder missed the previous game and was replaced by Haris Sohail." he added, "However, reports have surfaced that Shadab should be fit in time for the India game, which will be a big boost to Sarfraz Ahmed and Co."
Specifically, about the match on Sunday, September 23, Prasad thinks, “Against India, they(Pakistan) will hope for legspinner and allrounder Shadab Khan to be fit in time for the match. In the previous match between the two sides, the youngster foxed India’s in-form skipper Rohit Sharma with his googly but had to be rested for Friday’s match against Afghanistan,”
"For Pakistan to push India, it is important for the batsmen to occupy the crease for a long period, build partnerships and convert the starts." he added in conclusion, "If they bat first, there have to be at least 280 runs on the board for the bowlers to defend. Although batting first is a challenge in the Dubai conditions, Pakistan may prefer to considering they are not the best chasers,"