IND vs PAK Asia Cup 2023: 3 key battles that could take place in the Kandy clash
India have won 4 out of the last 5 ODIs the teams have played against each other.
All eyes are set on the IND vs PAK encounter in the Asia Cup 2023. The match will be the first ODI to be played between the two sides since their last meeting in the 2019 World Cup. Fans are eagerly waiting to see a ferocious battle between bat and ball, and their favourite players are going toe-to-toe. So, here are 3 key battles to watch out for:
Rohit Sharma vs Shaheen Afridi
Indian skipper Rohit Sharma has been susceptible to failing at the hands of left-arm pacers. Rohit has been dismissed by Shaheen Afridi in the IND vs PAK encounter in the T20 World Cup 2021 but has not fallen victim to him in ODIs. The Mumbai batter has faced Shaheen once before, and that too in the ODI Asia Cup. In the 2018 edition of the tournament, the two faced off in a battle that Rohit won, scoring 18 runs off 19 balls against the pacer.
Other left-arm pacers like Trent Boult and Mohammed Amir have also troubled Rohit, and the opener has fallen to all three pacers in big tournaments. Since 2019, Rohit has had an average of 22.71 against left-arm pacers, scoring 159 runs from 163 balls and getting dismissed 7 times in 29 innings.
Virat Kohli vs Haris Rauf
Everyone remembers Virat Kohli’s two sixes to Haris Rauf in the 2022 T20 World Cup. However, Rauf has improved significantly since their last encounter and would like to exact revenge on the former Indian skipper. The right-arm fast pacer has picked up 7 wickets in his 3 matches, including a 5-wicket haul vs Afghanistan on August 22.
After a 3-year slump, Kohli is back to his best in 2023, scoring 427 runs at an average of 53.37 and a strike rate of 116.03 in 2023. Rauf is also enjoying great success in 2023, picking up 17 wickets, including a 4-wicket and a 5-wicket haul, in 10 matches this season.
Shubman Gill vs Naseem Shah
Shubman Gill and Naseem Shah have never faced each other in international cricket but have an incredible record in their short ODI careers. While Gill has the second-best ODI average of all time (62.47), Naseem is one of the youngest bowlers to pick up a 5-wicket haul in ODIs.
Gill has made 750 runs in 12 matches this year, at an average of 68.18, and has already made 3 centuries and 2 fifties this season.
Naseem, on the other hand, has picked up 16 wickets in 8 matches at an average of 19.31 and an economy of 4.68. The right-arm pacer, who has played 11 matches in total, has never gone wicketless so far in his ODI career.