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The Preview by Siddhartha Vaidyanathan
June 9, 2008
Match factsTuesday, June 10, 2008
The Big Picture
Overworked v Undercooked probably sums up the state of the two title contenders in the tri-series. India travel-weary bunch are probably more match-ready but they will be up against a set of players who're coming off an extended rest. Mahendra Singh Dhoni has lost just one series since being handed captaincy (against Australia) but it would require his side to stop a side coming off a 12-game winning streak.
India taking on Pakistan in a neutral venue was almost a norm in the '90s - when the teams faced off in conditions as diverse as Sharjah, Toronto and Singapore - but the two sides have managed that only for five games in the last five years. The form guide also looks slightly different from the last decade - India have an 8-3 advantage in the last 11 games - and have a side that's learnt how to hold its nerve in the crunch.
Geoff Lawson, the Pakistan coach, has wished for his side to hand India a drubbing. The result of the game may not have a bearing on the finalists in this tournament but the confidence built up will no doubt come in handy during the Asia Cup and Champions Trophy - two titles both sides would want in their kitty.
Form guide - IndiaLast five matches: WWWLW (most recent first)
Player to watch: India might be tempted to hand Yusuf Pathan a one-day debut, especially after his sparkling performances in the recent IPL. Apart from his explosive batting skills, which will no doubt come in handy lower down the order, he could be useful with his fastish offbreaks and electric intensity on the field. He's shown the ability to clear the boundary under pressure and often guided his side - the Rajasthan Royals - in tense run-chases.
Form guide - PakistanLast five matches: WWWWW (most recent first)
Player to watch: Wahab Riaz's three wickets set up Pakistan's big win the other night but this will be his first real test. His three ODIs and a Twenty20 have all come against lesser opposition and it will be interesting to see how he stands up to a relatively stronger batting line-up. India, on the other hand, will be wary of one of the rising stars in Pakistan cricket, someone whose rhythmic action and pace has already caught the eye.
Virender Sehwag didn't practice on match-eve but Gary Kirsten, the coach, said it was only because of a slight cold. India would want to try out a few options early in the tournament - particularly giving Yusuf a chance.
The series offers India a chance to rotate a few players, allowing a few to get some valuable rest. Ishant Sharma would be expected to take the new ball and there could be a toss up between RP Singh and Praveen Kumar to share it. Piyush Chawla would lead a spin department with Yusuf, Yuvraj Singh and Sehwag providing back-up.
India (probable): 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Gautam Gambhir, 3 Rohit Sharma, 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 Robin Uthappa, 6 Yusuf Pathan, 7 Mahendra Singh Dhoni, 8 Irfan Pathan, 9 Piyush Chawla, 10 Praveen Kumar, 11 Ishant Sharma.
Pakistan are unlikely to change the combination that comprehensively beat Bangladesh. Fawad Alam, the left-arm spinner and batsman, didn't have a great outing but is likely to get another chance with no real spin back-up in the squad.
Pakistan (probable): 1 Salman Butt, 2 Kamran Akmal (wk), 3 Younis Khan, 4 Mohammad Yousuf, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq, 6 Shoaib Malik (capt), 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Fawad Alam, 9 Sohail Tanvir, 10 Umar Gul, 11 Wahab Riaz.
Pitch & conditionsIndia and Pakistan will play on a different pitch from that which was used for the first game but it is expected to play in similar fashion. Lawson said that the new ball bounced and came on to the bat but Salman Butt, who made 70 against Bangladesh, said there was grip and turn as the ball got older which did not make stroke-making easy.
The weather on the eve of the match was clear, after a short shower in the morning when the Indians were going through their fielding drills. It remained sunny through the afternoon and the evening but the climate changes quickly in Dhaka. The BBC's forecast is for heavy showers.
Stats and trivia
Quotes" It [Transition from T20 to ODIs] is something that we've given consideration and thought to. We need to make sure that our game plans and strategies are designed for 50-over cricket. It is different from what you're doing in the IPL. So we've worked hard over the last two days at getting our shapes right, our game plans right as to how we're going to play the 50-over format.
"I would like to score a 150-run win over India on Tuesday."
Geoff Lawson, the Pakistan coach, raises the bar.
Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is an assistant editor at CricinfoFeeds: Siddhartha Vaidyanathan
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