The whole world will be awaiting the India-Pakistan rivalry in the ongoing Asia Cup 2018. Besides the dream encounter, another important aspect of the tournament is the preparations of the teams for the ICC World Cup 2019, which is also a major highlight of the Asia Cup.
The mother of all battles kicks off on September 19. The Asia Cup has already started in the UAE with Bangladesh sealing a mammoth victory against Sri Lanka to light up the show. Six nations are battling it out and we might see Hong Kong being the first casualty after the loss against Pakistan. India opens their campaign against the tournament debutants.
One of the major highlights of the tournament is the India vs Pakistan fixture. Besides all the extravaganza surrounding the epic show, teams would view this tournament as the perfect platform to prepare for the World Cup set to take place in England next year. Also, Virat Kohli is absent and that is an opportunity for stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma to do well.
Post this tournament, India and Pakistan will meet next in the World Cup. Therefore there is everything to play for.
Indo-Pak battle always a superior show
India and Pakistan had last met in a bilateral series in 2012-13. The Asia Cup is one series, outside global tournaments, that attracts the attention of everyone. This time another high-octane battle is expected given the history the sides have enjoyed in this tournament.
Both teams are playing well in ODIs and this promises to be a cracker of a show. The two cricketing giants have met each other 12 times in the history of Asia Cup. India has sealed 6 wins as against Pakistan’s 5. Therefore there is hardly any difference to separate the two sides.
Pak bowlers versus Indian batting a treat
This is all we are waiting for. It’s the world-class Pakistani pace attack versus the Indian batting that will draw the limelight. The 2017 Champions Trophy ended on a similar tone when Pakistan was triumphant over their rivals in a stunning fashion.
Rohit will ensure that the Indian team will not be taking Pakistan lightly. This is a litmus test for the Mumbaikar, who will be keen to show that he is the best bet when Kohli is absent. To counter the left-arm pacers of Pakistan, the Indian cricket management went on to rope in in Sri Lanka’s Nuwan Seneviratne as the new left-arm throwdown coach.
Pakistan has a flurry of left-arm pacers and the quality is extraordinary. From Junaid Khan to Mohammad Amir, the array of pacers will come hard at India. Therefore, the Men in Blue will need to be on their toes to see off the challenge Pakistan will throw at them.
2019 World Cup preparations
There is plenty of chopping and changes that have taken place. The middle-order is uncertain at the moment. That’s where many players are in fray. Only the spin bowling looks settled. The pace department too can have an altogether different look, come the World Cup.
Many players who have got a rare chance to excel, know that this is an opportunity to shine and make their names heard. Since players will be fighting for Playing XI spots, they will come out and produce top class cricket.
Will India and Pakistan meet thrice?
The possibility of India and Pakistan meeting thrice is something we all are rooting for. Both sides are the top two draws in the tourney and boast about a cracking line-up at their disposal. This would be fun given there is plenty to achieve for both teams.
This is what makes the Asia Cup 2018 a spectacle and given the two teams do not play bilateral series, the continental showpiece could just light up the scenario everywhere.