India vs Pakistan: The Next Chapter

One nation split into two. One community divided into two. India and Pakistan. Once United, now separated. Arch rivals.

It is safe to say that no sporting rivalry could match this one, not the El Clasico, not the Ashes or the big footballing derbies. The fact that this rivalry is now only restricted to the ICC events due to ongoing tensions between both camps gives this rivalry all the more flavour.

While India can boast about a near-perfect record against their neighbours on the ICC stage, Pakistan can be equally bullish about the head-to-head record in all formats against India. Never has the form factor, team balance, records ever mattered in these games, the match on 4th June will be no different. It is just another chapter in this long saga of India vs Pakistan.

The Indian team comes to the tournament on the back of a grand home test season followed by the IPL and The Pakistanis come into the tournament after a successful tour of the West Indies. It will be interesting to see whether India has suffered from a lack of ODI Cricket: since the 2015 World Cup, India has only played 27 ODIs. Pakistan in the same time have played 39. In the 128 ODIs between the two countries so far, Pakistan have won 72 while India have won 51. In nine games at ICC events though, India have won seven.

Three Matchups to Look Out For

1. Rohit Sharma vs Mohammed Amir

The one matchup to certainly have an eye on would have to be that between the opening forces of both sides. Rohit Sharma and Mohammed Amir. This has been an intriguing battle already with the Pakistani seamer coming out trumps twice during the Asia Cup and World Twenty 20 last year when he dismissed Sharma in both games. With Rohit making a comeback to the ODI setup after seven months out due to injury and Amir looking to continue on his comeback trail, this battle will certainly raise eyebrows.

2. Virat Kohli vs Wahab Riaz

Very few player match-ups could get as aggressive as the one between Virat Kohli and Wahab Riaz. Both have been known to stand up to aggressive players. No one can forget how Kohli dominated Mitchell Johnson in the 2014/15 Test series and Riaz’s spell to Shane Watson at the 2015 World Cup was one of the tournament’s highlights. Both known to play the game with a lot of passion and expression, and with Kohli batting at number three and Riaz coming in as the first change bowler, expect to see a fiery contest between the two.

3. Babar Azam vs Jasprit Bumrah

Youngsters are always amongst the main talking points heading into a major tournament and to have two brilliant young players up against each other is a great narrative. Babar Azam, who has made an absolutely stunning start to his ODI career, finds himself against Jasprit Bumrah, who has had a equally amazing start to his career. Both cool and calm in their approach and having the ability to deliver under immense pressure, this matchup could be vital in determining who takes the victory in this match.

Stats

Outside Asia, India and Pakistan have played each other 28 times with Pakistan leading the head-to-head 14-13. Amongst the 30 players in the two squads, Shoaib Malik has the most runs in India vs Pakistan ODIs with 1634 runs @49.51 in 37 matches. Malik also has the most wickets amongst the 30, with 22 wickets @42.31 in 37 matches. The last time these two sides met in an ODI, India won by 76 runs at the 2015 World Cup in Adelaide.

India vs Pakistan is a rivalry which was once a common occurrence but has now become a rare occasion due to political tensions. In the last seven years, they have only played each other nine times.

While both sides have changed dramatically since the age of Tendulkar, Akram, Ganguly and Inzamam, the passion and occasion will still be the same. As the fans of both countries say, “Whatever happens in the rest of the tournament, do not lose to them.” We wait eagerly for India vs Pakistan on Sunday 4th June at Edgbaston, the latest instalment in this rivalry.

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