Tri-series: India favourites against Pakistan (Reissuing)

June 13th, 2008 - 10:49 pm ICT by IANS  


Dhaka, June 13 (IANS) India will go into the final of the cricket tri-series against Pakistan Saturday as overwhelming favourites but they cannot afford to take their rivals lightly. The past is replete with instances of Pakistan fiercely fighting back under pressure. An India-Pakistan title clash is a mouth watering contest for cricket fans in the subcontinent and India’s success in Australia and their complete domination of the current series here makes them look invincible even before a ball is bowled in the final.

India ended Pakistan’s 12-match winning streak, handing them 140-run defeat in the league match earlier in the week.

India was superior in all the departments and Pakistan hardly ever looked like a team battling it out in the middle.

Everything seems to be going right for the Indians in the series. Their top-order has fired magnificently. In fact, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir are in ominous touch and seem to have taken the responsibility of finishing matches on their own.

Runs have also come from Yuvraj Singh and Rohit Sharma in the middle order. The bowling has been incisive with Praveen Kumar proving that his performance in the semifinal and final in Australia was not a fluke. He has swung the ball and troubled the top-order batsmen. R.P. Singh is also among wickets, while Piyush Chawla has given nothing away.

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had everything going for him so far, but a strategist like him knows that performance on the day counts in cricket. Dhoni and his team will have to guard against complacency.

“I am really happy with the team’s performance. We won both the matches convincingly. We got good starts both in batting and bowling. I hope the team puts in the same kind of performance in the final,” said Dhoni.

“We will carry the confidence shown so far into the final. But it will be a new game and we will have to start from the scratch. We have to repeat all the good work that we did in the last two matches,” he said.

Pakistan, on the other hand, has plenty to think about before the match.

Their batting has been shoddy and fielding awful. The body language hardly gave the impression of a fighting side and skipper Shaoib Malik has failed to inspire the team.

The bowling looked good in patches and Umar Gul certainly has the ability to rock any side on his day.

Pakistan Cricket board Chairman Nasim Ashraf has dashed off a letter to the team management, raising awkward questions, after their embarrassing loss against India. It remains to be seen how the team reacts to it and raises its performance Saturday.

Squads (From):

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (C), Yuvraj Singh, Robin Uthappa, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar, R.P. Singh, Piyush Chawla, Pragyan Ojha and MS Gony.

Pakistan: Shoaib Malik (C), Salman Butt, Kamran Akmal, Misbah-ul-Haq, Yonus Khan, Muhammad Yousaf, Shahid Afridi, Fawad Alam, Umer Gul, Sohail Tanvir, Wahab Riaz, Nasir Jamshed, Sohail Khan, Rao Iftikar, Bazid Khan and Naumanullah.

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