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Asia Cup 2018: India look to avenge Champions Trophy defeat against Pakistan after Hong Kong scare

In the searing Dubai heat, where the mercury has risen up to 43 degree Celsius, the primary aim of the Men in Blue would be to get their combination right before the big game.

Reported by: India TV Sports Desk, New Delhi [ Updated: September 19, 2018 14:18 IST ]
Image Source : GETTY IMAGES

The arch-rivals meet in Dubai in a highly anticipated clash in the Asia Cup.

Following a 26 run victory against Hong Kong, India will take on arch-rivals Pakistan in a much-anticipated clash of the 2018 Asia Cup at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.

Even without regular skipper Virat Kohli, the Indian side, led by Rohit Sharma, is an intimidating one in the limited-overs format.

In the searing Dubai heat, where the mercury has risen up to 43 degree Celsius, the primary aim of the Men in Blue would be to get their combination right before the big game.

Indian team boasts of the likes of Rohit, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Kedar Jadhav in batting along with Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal in bowling.

For the past few years, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's waning batting skills have repeatedly come under scanner and this tournament will give everyone a fair idea of his ideal position.

Whether it would end up being No.5, 6 or 7 will be the big contention going into the Pakistan game.

If Dhoni comes in at No.7, he will have to face a skilful Mohammed Aamir at the death along with a skiddy Usman Khan and talented Hasan Ali.

Possibly, Kedar Jadhav or Manish Pandey at No.5 and Hardik Pandya with his big hitting abilities at No.7 could prove to be the ideal foil for the former India captain, if he decides to come at No 6.

The middle-order that has been an issue for India for quite some time now and need to be sorted going into the World Cup next year.

It is expected that KL Rahul will bat at No.3 but the incoming deliveries from Aamir or Hasan could be a problem like it has been in England.

The BCCI has already hired a left-arm throwdown specialist from Sri Lanka to ensure that India have no trouble tackling Pakistan's battery of left-armers.

Also, they have Khaleel Ahmed in the team to give the batsmen much-needed practice.

However, on flat decks with little movement from white kookaburra, the Indian batsmen can play their customary 'hitting on the rise' game with minimal footwork.

The Bumrah-Bhuvneshwar combination will be back in action along with the Kuldeep-Chahal combination, which has been a steady set-up for past one year.

For Pakistan, the two Indian wrist-spinners will be unknown entities as they were not in the team that lost to Sarfraz Ahmed's men in the Champions Trophy final in England.

Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam are the two batting mainstays while Imam ul Haq (Inzamam ul Haq's nephew) has been pretty consistent so far.

The oldest player in the lineup, all-rounder Shoaib Malik, has tremendous experience of batting in the middle overs on low slow decks of the sub-continent.

The tickets for the Indo-Pak clash have been steeply priced with the hospitality seats costing USD 1600 (INR 1.15 lakh approx).

Squads

India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shardul Thakur, Dinesh Karthik, Khaleel Ahmed.

Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Shan Masood, Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Shoaib Malik, Haris Sohail, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Junaid Khan, Usman Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Asif Ali, Mohammad Amir

Match starts at 5 pm (IST).

(With PTI inputs)

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