On the 23rd we will be seeing one of the most competitive IND vs PAK games in recent times.
India has the 2021 WC in mind and the team dynamic built over the last year would not put their mind to ease as the players who are likely to be part of the XI are not yet performing.
Pakistan has had a resurgence in terms of their performance as the Babar-Rizwan duo has managed to turn them into a world-class batting unit by taking over the majority of the runs scored by their team. This along with some skilled bowlers has made their team a threat.
They will face off at the MCG, a ground which will ask these teams different questions than their previous middle eastern encounters.
The MCG is known for its size and both teams will have to put in hard yards on the field if they want to gain an edge.
Average First Innings Score in MCG: 160 Runs
Like the other Aussie grounds the ball will be swinging and seaming in the initial few overs and the weather conditions might just amplify this movement.
The Pacers and leg spinners have done well in this ground due to the big boundaries.
Teams will find it easier to chase as they will have a better idea of how to approach the game with a fixed target in mind.
IND vs PAK Match Preview:
Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah will be opening the bowling with KL and Rohit opening the batting for India.
While a repeat of what happened last year is expected with more swing on offer I highly doubt we will see anything of that sort.
The powerplay is the best time for Pakistan to get on the back foot with their bowlers being highly effective while the Indian openers would look to try something different.
Despite the odds highly being against India, bowlers often try to overdo their bowling in search of a wicket and this is not an effective strategy.
The Indian captain on the other hand will want this to be the start of the “fearless and bold” cricket that he wants his side to play.
India on the other hand will also be playing 2 of Arshdeep, Shami and Bhuvi. Any of these bowlers can hit the hard lengths and swing the ball.
With India having a smart captain and a good attack it will put pressure on Pakistan’s opening pair. Both batsmen are the architects of Pakistan’s batting and their strike rate in this phase has been worrying.
In the first 20 balls that these batsmen face they have a strike rate of around 120 which is not up to the standards in Australia where teams will look to use the field restrictions to get their runs.
If India can remain patient and bowl according to their plan, Pakistan will have to play a different style of cricket or will end the powerplay on the backfoot if they continue to go at a low run rate.
Some Important Numbers/Stats
- Since the 2021 T20WC, India has had a run rate of 8.6 while Pakistan is down at 7 which is the lowest.
- India tops the charts again when it comes to facing pace and spin with a run rate of 9.5 and 8.3 respectively.
- Pakistan on the other hand goes at a rate of 8.8 against pace and 7.3 against spin which is bang average.
- In the death overs, India has a run rate of 11.1 which is second to South Africa’s 11.7 while Pakistan is 6th on the list at 9.9.
Probable Playing XI
India: KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma (C), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin/Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Shami/Harshal Patel
Pakistan: Babar Azam (C), Mohammad Rizwan (WK), Shan Masood, Haider Ali, Asif Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf
Ashwin or Chahal?: India’s Lead Spinner
Ashwin against southpaws is a match made in heaven and Pakistan struggling against off-spin is a very well-known fact.
Ashwin’s experience in these conditions will also come in handy making it a no-brainer to pick him ahead of Chahal right? The stats say otherwise.
At the MCG off spinners take only 11.3% of the spin wickets with an average of over 35 and an economy of around 7.5. Compare this with leg spinners who have an average of 29 and an economy rate of 6.5 while also taking 60.6% of all spin wickets at this venue.
Finger spinners in Australia haven’t been too successful. Hence, my pick for this game would be Chahal.
Despite his dip in form, Chahal is a better fit for this XI. One advantage that Ashwin has over Chahal is that he is more versatile which is not something India really needs as they will walk in with 6 bowlers and a left-arm spinner in Axar who can bowl the powerplay overs.
Wickets in the middle have been an issue and with this venue helping leg spinners a lot, Chahal will look to capitalize on this and be India’s main wicket-taker in the absence of Bumrah.
Harshal Patel? Hit or Miss
With Rohit saying that the XI for the Pakistan encounter has already been set and Harshal playing most of the games leading up to the world Cup I can see Harshal starting this game.
Harshal has had a horrific time and the Injury that he sustained has just made things worse.
Harshal’s resurgence in the IPL has been because of the change in skill sets. Moving from a traditional pacer, he focuses on beating the batsmen in the air with the dip that his balls produce and if the pitch favours will try to grip the ball.
This makes it very hard for batsmen as the ball does not have enough pace to be hit out of the ground without a big swing but the dip of the ball makes it hard for them to judge the trajectory of the ball.
The way Harshal has been used is very disappointing. Sometimes bowling in the first 10 overs and often in the death trying to hit the hard lengths is something which doesn’t work for him and hasn’t worked for him so far.
The management needs to be blamed here as they are making specialist death bowler bowl deliveries which a regular pacer would.
Harshal on the other hand has continued to miss his lines and the frequency of his slower balls has also massively reduced.
Having followed Harshal’s career for quite a while I am confident that he will be successful if he goes back to what has worked for him in his purple cap IPL season.
Important Players For IND vs PAK Match
Both teams are filled with superstars but keeping in mind the pressure of the situation and conditions at hand I feel that these 2 players will be the ones whose performance could decide the winner.
53.5% of the runs at the MCG come while running between the wickets.
Kohli having batted in 10 t20i games in AUS has an average of 64.4 at a strike rate of 145. Having previously dominated the Pakistan bowling lineup he will once again be a key player for India.
With explosive finishers at the back end and a very versatile number 4, the stage is set for Kohli to follow his template and play his game. Running between the wickets and looking to use the pace is the best way to score runs here and there isn’t a better batsman in world cricket who does this better than Kohli.
With the team composition changing and India playing in different conditions we have seen Kohli approach games in different games but with this being a world cup game and a very settled batting lineup along with it.
The instructions given to Kohli will be to play a Virat Kohli innings.
Calling the MCG his second home ground, Rauf is one bowler India will have to be scared off.
Being a versatile bowler, Rauf can bowl during any point of the game and has mastered the art of bowling hard lengths at a very high pace it will be interesting to see how India tackles his bowling.
With genuine pace hitters in DK and Hardik who can take the game away from the opposition, Rauf becomes difficult for these batsmen as his line and lengths are tailored perfectly for the ground dimensions forcing the duo to move out of their comfort zone and innovate a lot more.
Key Matchups for IND vs PAK Match
Virat Kohli vs Haris Rauf: Runs-26 Balls-24 Dismissals-0
Virat Kohli vs Mohammad Nawaz: Runs-10 Balls-12 Dismissals-1
Virat Kohli vs Shaheen Afridi: Runs-11 Balls-10 Dismissals-1
Mohammad Rizwan vs Bhuvneshwar Kumar: Runs-27 Balls-27 Dismissals-0
Mohammad Rizwan vs Hardik Pandya: Runs-26 Balls-21 Dismissals-2
Babar Azam vs Bhuvneshwar Kumar: Runs-22 Balls-16 Dismissals-1
IND vs PAK Dream11 Team
Note: This is not our Final Team, Toss Factor plays a huge role in deciding that.
For our Final Team (After Toss), You can Join our Telegram Channel “Clan For Gamers“
We Predicted India to win this match and Virat to play the crucial role in that win, From Pakistan Point of View, Haris Rauf and Shaheen Shah have to deliver.