Pakistan are 48-1 against India after 9 overs in their World Cup 2023 fixture in Ahmedabad after being invited to bat first.
Situation right now
India, on their own turf, and carrying an unblemished record against Pakistan in 50-over World Cup are the overwhelming favourites. Even the experts from Pakistan side, including Wasim Akram and Shoaib Malik, have acknowledged that. To pull an upset, this would require a Fakhar Zaman in the Champions Trophy final type performance for the ages.
Siraj dismisses Shafique on the last delivery of his fourth over. The ball comes back in sharply, keeps low and traps Abdullah in front of the wickets. He departs for 20.
Abdullah steps out on Bumrah’s second delivery and dispatches him for a boundary towards long on. Imam also flicks him down the leg side for a boundary on the last over with 9 runs coming off it.
While Bumrah has stifled the Pakistan openers from one end, runs keep on coming off of Siraj as a double and three singles result in five runs from the sixth over.
Another good over from Bumrah with the pacer bowling six dots to end a maiden for India. Imam tried to cut him towards point but good fielding from Ravindra Jadeja — arguably the best fielder in the Indian side — prevented a certain boundary.
Abdullah frees up his arms on the first delivery from Siraj and dispatches him for a boundary through the covers. Both the openers look good early on, with the pitch offering little to nothing to the pacers. A pair of singles and a boundary means six runs for Pakistan in the fourth.
The openers are wary and watchful against Bumrah who has a habit of picking early wickets in the power play. Just a single from the third ball brings Pakistan’s score at 17 for the loss of no wickets.
Siraj was sent to the covers three times in his first over. Two gorgeous boundaries and tickle down the fine leg got Imam off to a great start. All runs from boundaries for Pakistan so far. Siraj ends his first with Pakistan at 16 for no loss.
A nervy start for opener Abdullah Shafique as Jasprit Bumrah bowled five dot deliveries before he was flicked for a boundary on the last delivery. There does not seem to be early swing available for the bowlers, something the Indian skipper was interested in.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam said had he won the toss, he would have bowled first before proceeding to name an unchanged lineup.
India make one change, with Shubman Gill replacing Ishan Kishan.
Pakistan: 1 Abdullah Shafique, 2 Imam-ul-Haq, 3 Babar Azam (capt), 4 Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 5 Saud Shakeel, 6 Iftikhar Ahmed, 7 Shadab Khan, 8 Mohammad Nawaz, 9 Hasan Ali, 10 Shaheen Afridi, 11 Haris Rauf
India: 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Shreyas Iyer, 5 KL Rahul (wk), 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Shardul Thakur, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Mohammed Siraj
Pakistan’s unenviable record against India in ODI World Cup
Two-time champions India have a perfect 7-0 record against Pakistan in the 50-overs World Cup and are also the top-ranked ODI team, who have won both their games in the tournament so far.
But Pakistan also have two wins from two at the World Cup after seeing off the Netherlands and Sri Lanka, and Babar is approaching the tournament’s most-anticipated clash at the Narendra Modi Stadium, the world’s largest cricket venue, with a complete disregard for the past.
“I don’t think about the past, I’d rather focus on future,” Babar told reporters with a wry smile on his face on Friday. “All records are meant to be broken, and we’ll try to break this record.”
Under Babar, Pakistan broke a Twenty20 World Cup sequence of five defeats (from 2007 to 2016) against India with a 10-wicket rout at Dubai in 2021.
Babar admitted conditions in Ahmedabad are different from those at Hyderabad where Pakistan played two warm-up matches and their first two World Cup games.
“Yes, the conditions here are different,” said Babar, whose team beat the Netherlands by 81 runs and Sri Lanka by six wickets. “You are better off at a venue where you have spent a few days but we will adapt.”