India v Pakistan, Champions Trophy, Group B, Edgbaston June 14, 2013

Even outside Asia

Stats preview to the Champions Trophy Group B match between India and Pakistan

India v Pakistan used to be a fairly frequent occurrence a few years back, but in the last four-and-a-half years they've only played each other in seven ODIs, with India winning four and Pakistan three. Four of those seven games were in multi-team tournaments - two Asia Cup games in 2010 and 2012, a Champions Trophy match in 2009, and the 2011 World Cup semi-final. India won three of those four, but Pakistan beat India 2-1 in the bilateral ODI series late last year. Current form favours India, who have already qualified for the Champions Trophy semi-finals while Pakistan have been knocked out, but form hasn't counted for much when these two teams have played each other. (Click here for a summary of their overall results.)

Historically Pakistan have held the advantage, winning 71 matches and losing only 49, but it's been much closer in multi-team tournaments involving five or more teams, with Pakistan ahead only by a 9-8 margin. India's 5-0 World Cup advantage is offset only marginally by Pakistan's 2-0 record in Champions Trophy matches, but the more interesting break-up is their head-to-head record in Asia and outside the continent.

In 96 matches in Asia, Pakistan have a huge 57-36 advantage, but outside Asia, there's little to choose between them - Pakistan have a 14-13 lead. The table below shows that Pakistan's batting numbers drop significantly when they play outside Asia - from an average of 34.68 and run rate of 5.28 to 26.71 and 4.68. India's drop, on the other hand, is far more marginal.

That clearly suggests that in flatter conditions, Pakistan's bowlers have the skills and the weapons to be more incisive - their fast bowlers generally have more pace and are better at reverse-swing, while some of their spinners are more crafty. The Indian bowlers tend to rely more on the conditions to help them cause some damage, and in the absence of that in India, they've tended to go for more runs. Outside Asia, the pitches and conditions often have more in them for bowlers, especially those who seam and swing the ball, and in those conditions Indian bowlers have been able to neutralise the greater natural flair of the Pakistanis. The better technique of the Indian batsmen has, on the other hand, enabled them to handle Pakistan's bowlers reasonably well even in more testing conditions.

ODIs between India and Pakistan
  Matches Pak won Ind won Pak bat ave/ RR Ind bat ave/ RR
In Asia 96 57 36 34.68/ 5.28 30.42/ 4.99
Outside Asia 28 14 13 26.71/ 4.68 27.30/ 4.44
Overall 124 71 49 32.61/ 5.14 29.73/ 4.87

The two tables below, which compare the fast bowlers and spinners of the two teams in and outside Asia, confirm that theory. The difference in numbers for the Indian seamers in and outside Asia is especially stark. In Asia they've struggled to make an impact, averaging almost 40 runs per wicket and going at 5.16 runs over; however, outside the continent their average has improved dramatically to 26.95, which is in fact better than Pakistan's 31.55. India's seamers have also taken more wickets than Pakistan's outside Asia, 154 to 100.

The list of top wicket-takers among the fast bowlers highlights the skew: the list in Asia is dominated by Aaqib Javed, Wasim Akram, Imran Khan, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar - they are the ones with averages in the early and mid-20s. The leading Indian wicket-takers - Kapil Dev, Irfan Pathan, Zaheer Khan and Javagal Srinath - have much poorer averages, with Srinath and Zaheer averaging around 40 per wicket.

However, Indian seamers dominate the list for leading wicket-takers in matches outside Asia. Javagal Srinath has 31 wickets at 23.87, Sourav Ganguly's 25 wickets cost 20.24 each, while Venkatesh Prasad took 22 at 28.86. Pakistan's leading wicket-taker among quick bowlers is Akram, and he has only 16 at 28.31. In nine matches, Waqar took only eight wickets at 39.12.

Saturday's match is at Edgbaston, but in most of the matches in this tournament so far the ball hasn't swung or seamed the way it normally would in England. Given the way the numbers have stacked up over the years, that might be a good thing for Pakstan.

Pace bowlers' stats in India v Pakistan matches
  In Asia Outside Asia
  Wickets Average Econ rate Wickets Average Econ rate
Pakistan 420 30.69 4.77 100 31.55 4.15
India 328 39.17 5.16 154 26.95 4.63
Spinners' stats in India v Pakistan matches
  In Asia Outside Asia
  Wickets Average Econ rate Wickets Average Econ rate
Pakistan 189 38.22 4.87 66 28.30 4.47
India 214 39.48 5.07 52 30.48 4.22

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. Follow him on Twitter