Dubai: Pakistan hope to have learned their lesson from a heavy group-stage loss to India when the two rivals meet again in the Asia Cup on Sunday, this time at the Super Four stage.
After the group defeat, Pakistan narrowly avoided humiliation when Sarfraz Ahmed’s team beat Afghanistan in their opening Super Four match with just three balls to spare in Abu Dhabi. Also Friday, in Dubai, India easily beat Bangladesh by seven wickets.
India thrashed Pakistan by eight wickets with 21 overs to spare in their last encounter and will take confidence from that win into Sunday’s game at Dubai International Stadium. The same stadium hosts the final on Friday.
Pakistan still appear annoyed by India playing only in Dubai, while other teams face a nearly 90-minute bus journey for some matches in Abu Dhabi.
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza has also criticised this arrangement.
Ahmed said earlier in the tournament: “I believe things should be even for all teams, whether that’s India, Pakistan or anyone else. If matches are played in Abu Dhabi, then all teams must play a game or two there.”
Defending champion India, despite losing Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel and Shardul Thakur to injury during the tournament, have looked the strongest team so far.
India is expected to field the same lineup that defeated Bangladesh.
Pakistan dropped struggling fast bowler Mohammed Amir against Afghanistan, but he may be recalled after the team’s unconvincing bowling display. Left-arm medium-pacer Shaheen Afridi took two wickets against Afghanistan, but the newcomer might not be risked against the experienced Indian batting lineup.
India’s bowling unit has played well in the conditions apart from conceding an opening 174-run stand against Hong Kong.
India captain Rohit Sharma, who has scored 52 and an unbeaten 83 in the last two matches, expressed satisfaction with his bowling attack.
“The bowlers have done a very good job and stuck to their plans. Spinners (Yuzvendra) Chahal and Kuldeep (Yadav) did not get any wickets (against Bangladesh), but they are allowed a day off and (Ravindra) Jadeja stepped up with four wickets,” Sharma said.
“It is a big match for us again and we just hope to recover well and continue to repeat the same performance against Pakistan.”
On Wednesday, Pakistan once again travels to Abu Dhabi for its last Super Four match against Bangladesh, a day after India plays Afghanistan in Dubai.