Indian cricket team will clash against arch-rivals Pakistan in their opening Super 4 match of the Asia Cup 2023 on Sunday, September 10. India’s group-stage fixture against Pakistan was washed out due to rain at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on September 2 but both teams did easy work on debutants Nepal to set the highly anticipated clash against each other in the Super 4 round.
Pakistan enter this game as the world’s no.1 cricket team in ODIs after beating Bangladesh by 7 wickets in their first Super 4 match. They are in great form lately with their pace attack of Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah dominating the bowling charts in this tournament. But they face their biggest challenge against India at Colombo’s R Premadasa Stadium on Sunday as the latter are set to field their strongest team for the first time.
The star wicketkeeper batter missed the group-stage game against Pakistan due to a delay in his recovery from the injury but is declared fit for the remainder of the matches. Rohit Sharma will be further pleased with the return of premier pacer Jasprit Bumrah for the Super 4 matches. Bumrah missed the Nepal game due to the birth of his first child and didn’t get a chance to bowl against Pakistan due to rain.
Bumrah and Rahul’s availability will be a big boost for the team’s chances against Pakistan but it will be a healthy selection headache for captain Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid. If Rahul is to start then who will sit out and who will make the way for Bumrah – these two questions will leave fans guessing till the toss for sure.
Ishan Kishan’s sensational knock against Pakistan was his fourth consecutive ODI fifty so dropping him for KL Rahul will be cruel. Rahul hasn’t played any cricket since IPL 2023 so his inclusion for the crucial Pakistan game will raise some questions as well. But Rahul has an impressive record while batting at no.5 and is expected to replace Ishan Kishan in India’s playing eleven.
In bowling, Bumrah is certain to play against Pakistan and is likely to replace Mohammed Shami in the playing eleven. Shami took only one wicket against Nepal but bowled an impressive economical spell. Shardul Thakur’s batting skills and Mohammed Siraj’s form gave them an edge over Shami at the moment and the management is likely to consider it while selecting the playing eleven against Pakistan.
India’s predicted playing XI vs Pakistan: Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (WK), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah