In the grandeur of the world’s largest cricket stadium, filled with an enthusiastic crowd supporting their local heroes and vocally opposing what’s widely considered the best ODI team in the world, Babar Azam and his team look to achieve something that has eluded all previous Pakistani cricket teams: a World Cup win over India.
Babar Azam’s struggle is like climbing Mount Everest in bad weather. Pakistani captain Babar Azam was optimistic last Friday as he and his squad finished their preparations for this historic event. This duel makes history and ignites passions. This is a chance for the Green Shirts to make cricket history.
Pakistan aims to defeat India in today’s thrilling match
The only thing that might top this match is Pakistan and India playing again at the World Cup final next month. Pakistan will try to break the cricket World Cup’s most famous jinx at the 132,000-seat Narendra Modi Stadium today. India is the favorite after beating Pakistan in all seven World Cup games.
On Friday, Rohit Sharma’s India skipper asserted that the hosts have momentum and covered all their bases. India won a home series against Australia and thrashed Pakistan by 228 runs to win the Asia Cup before the World Cup. India thrashed Australia and Afghanistan in their first two World Cup games.
“The bowlers performed well. Spinners and seamers have pressured batsmen wherever possible. “All batsmen scored runs,” Rohit told Ahmedabad reporters.
India also has prolific hitter Shubman Gill, who missed the first two games due to dengue, eligible for selection.
Pakistan seemed forlorn after their Asia Cup loss earlier this month. After losing crucial pacer Naseem Shah to injury, Pakistan won back-to-back games against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka, which they defeated in the largest World Cup run-chase ever. Babar downplayed Pakistan’s lackluster World Cup record versus India.
“I don’t dwell on the past,” he remarked. “Let’s focus on what’s coming since records are meant to be broken. As in the first two matches, we will attempt to play well and see how you do on the day.”
Most analysts agree that a Pakistan-India encounter, especially a World Cup match, is a nerve-wracking duel. The team that handles pressure wins.
Babar felt that handling the strain of playing a tough opponent at home was crucial. He called it a “golden opportunity”.
I informed the athletes that this is their best chance to excel. A large stadium can hold many fans. We have a great chance to play for these fans.”
India is the team to beat in this tournament, which might put pressure on the hosts in front of a huge home crowd. Wasim Akram, the former Pakistan captain, disagrees.
“I don’t think home expectations would pressure India. They have many seasoned players like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma who have played many high-pressure games. Wasim told ‘The News’ that they can mentor their young players.
I think Pakistan’s players must give their utmost to upset India. I hope they do it, he said.
After Muhammad Rizwan and World Cup debutant Abdullah Shafiq hit tons in the thrilling run-chase against Sri Lanka in Hyderabad on Tuesday, Pakistan will hope their batting can click. They will also need misfiring starter Imam-ul-Haq to score, but skipper Babar, who has yet to rediscover his form, will be crucial. Pakistan’s bowling attack, which has struggled in both triumphs, is their biggest issue. Two wickets for 113 in two games for lead pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi, who was presumably nursing a finger ailment.
Babar believes Shaheen will excel in today’s blockbuster. He’s our main bowler. Shaheen believes he is a big-match bowler, Babar added. Pakistan will likely stick with the team that beat Sri Lanka in Hyderabad, where Babar’s fans cheered.
Narendra Modi’s hometown, Ahmedabad, is expected to have a different vibe. But Babar thinks his teammates will give their best. They must because Ahmedabad demands more today.