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India and Pakistan have balanced sides for the conditions
New Delhi, 11 August: The much-awaited Asia Cup encounter between Pakistan and India is fast approaching.
Cricket connoisseurs are voicing their opinions about team strengths and weaknesses, besides making predictions about the ultimate winner of the coveted championship.
On paper, both India and Pakistan appear very strong and robust. India has a wealth of experience in the shape of skipper Rohit Sharma, star batter Virat Kohli, sizzling talent Shubman Gill, and all-rounders Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja.
In the bowling department, Mohammad Siraj and Mohammad Shami are proven champions for the Indian contingent.
On the other hand, the Pakistani team is high on confidence under the dynamic leadership of world-class batter Babar Azam.
The 17-member squad recently announced by their new chief selector, Inzamam-ul-Haq, is fairly balanced in every aspect. Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf comprise the teamâ€™s pace battery while leg-spinning all-rounders Shadab Khan and Usama Mir and fast-bowling all-rounder Faheem Ashraf are dangerous campaigners.
Pakistanâ€™s batting, too, is rock solid with opening batters Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq, followed by champion cricketer Babar Azam, and decent middle-order batters such as Saud Shakeel, Salman Ali Agha and wicket-keeper, Mohammad Rizwan.
Pakistan seems to have all bases covered.
However, in big tournaments, it ultimately comes to the battle of nerves more than the talent and potential of individual players.
Teams like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan will offer stiff competition to both India and Pakistan while Nepal will gain much-needed exposure at the international level. Competing against the best in the business will do them a lot of good.
To be fair, for teams such as Afghanistan and Nepal, it will be a tad difficult to challenge experienced teams like Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. At the same time, it wonâ€™t be easy for Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to consistently beat the two arch-rivals, Pakistan and India.
That means that the ultimate battle will be between India and Pakistan. After their contest on 02 September in Pallekele in the group stage, both teams could meet again in the Super 4 stage. And, it is quite possible that Pakistan and India could qualify for the finals of the Asia Cup 2023 and battle it out again against each other.
For cricket enthusiasts, three possible matches between Pakistan and India will be an icing on the cake.
NewsnViews predicts an India-Pakistan final. In the finals, anything can happen. It will be a stiff contest between Pakistanâ€™s world-class bowling and Indiaâ€™s world-class batting. May the best team on the day win!