MELBOURNE: His unblemished record of success against historical rivals at the ICC marquee events is a thing of the past, an injured Indian team will desperately seek revenge against a high-quality Pakistani team in a sold out Super 12 clash of the T20 World Cup, here on Sunday.
Even though the rain is threatening to spoil it, it’s unlikely to be a complete washout according to people who understand the weather conditions here.

Thousands of fans from both countries traveled the world to see their team in action and to trust rival captains Rohit Sharma and Babar Azam to tell you that this is another ‘game’ for them but all 22 players and the substitutes know that this is ‘the game’.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, under whom India never lost to Pakistan at the events of the ICC, repeated time and again that there is no place for the word “revenge” in a cricket pitch.

INDIA AGAINST PAKISTAN

But a lot has changed in the past year since Shaheen Shah Afridi in an intimidating opening period gave the Pakistani team their first World Cup victory in all formats.
It wasn’t just a match won or a broken voodoo, but that 3/31 of Shaheen also managed to hurt the egos of some of the biggest proponents of cricket batting in the contemporary world.

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While Rohit, Virat Kohli or KL Rahul are not the ones who easily forget last year’s humiliation in Dubai, the fact remains that India as a team has seemed slightly underdone lately.
And on Sunday at least, the “Men In Blue” would not start as favorites in the “mother of all fights”.

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The BCCI’s statement that India will not travel to Pakistan to play the Asia Cup and the resulting PCB threat to withdraw from the 50 World Cup in India has only made the atmosphere more politically charged and vicious.
India would not mind entering a game as underdogs and it will be Pakistan, which will have to live up to the high expectations.
The combination is still a concern for India
This has been a trend with the Indian team for some time now, not having a stable combination. In 2019, they didn’t have a number four even after two years before the meeting.
And now, a year after the last T20 World Cup, India may have to drop a skilled southpaw (Rishabh Pant) from the top five to accommodate an extra pitcher.
Uniformity in the batting lineup is a bit of a concern as it would allow Shaheen, Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf to throw a line in Pant’s absence, which was also a touch out of shape.

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How India’s top three handle Shaheen in Powerplay would determine how the match turns out.
One man, who could possibly take Shaheen head-on is the current No. 1 from India Suryakumar Yadav, who is someone who never changes his game regardless of conditions or situations.
But in wet conditions, Rohit would pray that luck would shine on him and that he would win the draw and may choose to chase when his bowling lineup looks a bit scratchy.
While India has three spinners in formation, there may ultimately only be one playing if persistent rains and a sharp drop in temperature make conditions more favorable.
If so, an out of shape Harshal Patel with decent batting skills may be back on the agenda.

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But with three lefties – Shan Masood / Fakhar Zaman, Mohammed Nawaz and Khushdil Shah, a bowler who can turn him will always be in the mix. So Ravichandran Ashwin can never be completely out of the question.
Last time, the strategy to promote Nawaz as a pinch hitter in the Asia Cup Super 4 literally baffled India, but this time they must have done their best homework not to be caught off guard.
On Sunday, the only factor driving Pakistan slightly ahead is Shaheen, who is slowly getting closer to his best.

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At the MCG after 37 years
It is after almost 37 and a half years that a clash between India and Pakistan has been planned at the MCG. The first since the Benson & Hedges Cricket World Championship final in 1985.
That was it Sunil GavaskarIn his last match as captain of India and back home to India, fans watched Ravi Shastri take a sparkling Audi for a ride around MCG.

That day there were just 30,000 fans and an offensive poster in the stands of the locals that day, it said “World Cup Final: Tram Drivers Vs Bus Drivers”, substantially detracting from the social status of the two South Asian neighbors. .
No one at the time would have imagined that an India vs Pakistan match would become a major commercial vehicle in multi-team events. It’s not just another match, it’s ‘The Match’.

Teams:
India: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik (sept), Rishabh Pant (sept), Yuzvendra ChahalAxar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel and Deepak Hooda
Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Mohammed Rizwan (sept), Fakhar Zaman, Shan Masood, Mohammed Nawaz, Khushdil Shah, Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammed Wasim, Shadab KhanMohamed Hasnain



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