India-Pakistan cricket clash reflects the erstwhile Panipat battles in history creating a lot of buzz among cricket fans and this time too the high-octane encounter vividly seen enthralling fans as the World Cup match 4 kicks off at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday.
More than the world Cup title, it is the win over Pakistan for many Indians that matters and in Pakistan too the victory against the umblical rival India means millions of nazranas. The organisers, hoping half the stadium bid for venue but realized that their move meant all tickets in the 50,000 capacity stadium were sold out within 20 minutes after opening for sale.
Both India and Pakistan in the Group B fixture will fight it out, India to retain its edge as was the case through out history while Pakistan will give it a do-or-die fight to break the jinx and defeat their neighbour in the sport’s showpiece event.
The cricket ICC World Cup match 4 between India and Pakistan will be shown live on Star Sports 1 and Star Sports HD 1, while the live-streaming will be available on Starsports.com.
Pakistan viewers can watch the match on PTV and Ten Sports, and for online live streaming, they can access PTV Live and Ten Sports Live. Those in the UK can see it live on Sky Sports 2 which has been telecasting as Sky Sports World Cup. For online live streaming, they can access Sky Go.
Viewers in the host country Australia can catch it on Channel Nine and Fox Sports, besides accessing the Cricket Australia Live. Cricket fans in the USA can watch the warm-up match on ESPN or Watch ESPN.
Match 4 Preview:
While Pakistan have a better One-Day International (ODI) record against India, they have never been able to defeat their traditional rivals in all five Cup contests till date, the last of which came four years ago in the semi-final at Mohali. However, Pakistan would want to straighten the record in the Cup opener for both sides.
The 1992 champions are not the favourites and neither do they have many stars in their line-up. To add to their troubles, a couple of their top players have been ruled out of the tournament. Nevertheless, their traditional unpredictability remains their biggest strength, something which has always aided them in the past.
The withdrawals of all-rounder Mohammed Hafeez and left-arm pacer Junaid Khan have come as a severe blow. Then ace spinner Saeed Ajmal was also not selected in the squad after the International Cricket Council (ICC) ruled his action illegal. However, his action has been cleared recently.
But Pakistan’s fast bowling has been their traditional strength. The seven-foot-tall Mohammed Irfan and proven match-winner Wahab Riaz, both left-armers, will lead their pace attack.
Veteran Shahid Afridi is one of the key players who has to perform if Pakistan want to have a chance against India. His stinging spin bowling backed by his ‘boom, boom’ batting always makes him a ready-made match-winner.
On the other hand, India have had a poor tour of Australia which has shaken the belief of many that the World No.2 side will be able to retain cricket’s most eminent title.
Though the defending champions did not fare well in their tour Down Under, several cricket pundits have regularly said that come-what-may, in today’s date, India are a top ODI side.
However, India’s bowling is in more than a spot of bother. With pace spearhead Ishant Sharma out of the tournament with an ankle injury and a big question mark over the fitness of swing bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the fast bowling department is not looking good.
In the present circumstances, Mohammed Shami could prove to be the key fast bowler, considering the inexperience of Mohit Sharma and medium pacer Stuart Binny.
When it comes to spin bowling, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are proven match-winners but how much the conditions in Australia will suit the tweakers is another question.
Keeping that in mind, if India want to continue their winning streak against Pakistan, their traditional strength — batting — has to click.
On paper, India boast one of the strongest batting line-ups. With four Indians — Virat Kohli (No.3), Shikhar Dhawan (No.7), Dhoni (No.9) and Rohit Sharma (No.13) — in ICC’s top-20 ODI batsman rankings, India can certainly give any team in the world a run for their money.
In Ajinkya Rahane and Suresh Raina, the team has a reliable middle-order and Ashwin, Jadeja and Binny are more than capable batsmen down the order.
Both teams have had a poor run coming in to the World Cup and will definitely try to win and gain momentum before taking on the other big teams. Irrespective of the outcome, the match promises to be a thriller as always and the rivalry will continue to be one of the most watched events of the World Cup.
Prediction: India may win going by history but Pakistan is determined to reverse for once on Sunday.
(With inputs from IANS)