Daijiworld Media Network
Mirpur, Mar 18: It's time for India vs Pakistan! The last time these two teams met was at the World Cup semi-final at Mohali, where the hosts and eventual champions India outplayed the visitors. A lot of things have happened in the year after that, and the situation is very different from how it was back then. Pakistan have become a much more consistent team, and India have been jolted by losses abroad. The Asia Cup encounter is more important for India than it is for Pakistan, as the latter have virtually qualified for the final. India, coming after a shock-loss to Bangladesh, will have to play out of their skins against their arch rivals in a high-pressure game.
Pakistan have played eight ODIs in Mirpur. They have won seven and lost one match. Their only loss at this venue was against India during the Kitply cup in 2008.
If it was not for the Asia Cup, we might not have seen an India vs Pakistan encounter. One hopes that we can soon see bilateral action between these two nations.
The last match between these two nations was during the 2011 World Cup semi-final at Mohali. India emerged victorious in that encounter and keep their record of never having lost to Pakistan in the marquee tournament.
When the atmosphere is electric, when passion is at a fever-pitch, when fans display patriotism like never before, you know that it is an India vs Pakistan encounter.
Welcome to this titanic clash between these two arch-rivals. Pakistan have almost sealed their spot in the final while India will look to win this and keep their chances of reaching the final bright.
Pitch Report: The rest day has allowed the curator to water the pitch. Sunil Gavaskar reckons that there will be a lot of runs on this pitch. If the batsmen are not nervous, then they can score runs freely. It is a contest between Pakistan's bowlers and India's batsmen.
Pakistan have won the toss and elected to bat
Misbah: It is a good track to bat on. Everybody is really focused about this game and I am telling the boys to stick to the basics. Every game is important and India-Pakistan games are important. We have to give our 100%. Sarfraz is not playing and Riaz comes in.
Dhoni: We wanted to bowl first. We do not want the opposition to put some big runs. It is an important game. We made mistakes and we did not execute our plans. Yusuf Pathan replaces Ravindra Jadeja.
Ravindra Jadeja is unwell and that is why he has not been picked in this match. Dhoni was clueless when he came to speak during the toss as he did not know whether he was batting or bowling first.
India (Playing XI): Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni(w/c), Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, Ashok Dinda
Pakistan (Playing XI): Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq(c), Umar Akmal(w), Shahid Afridi, Hammad Azam, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Wahab Riaz, Aizaz Cheema