It is easily the most intense rivalry in cricket — every time there is an India vs Pakistan match, emotions go flying and there is unbridled passion both on the field and off it among fans. Like often, it is again going to be a contest between Pakistan's lethal pace attack and India's batting masterclass. Days before the much-awaited Ind vs Pak ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 clash, we take a look at the main rivalries that might take the centre stage as the arch rivals lock horns on June 16 (Sunday).
Mohammad Amir vs Virat Kohli: As world number 1 batter Kohli prepares to face in-form Mohammad Amir, ‘revenge’ might be the word playing on his mind. The last time India and Pakistan played a one-day international match in an ICC tournament, Amir, who has taken 5 wickets in the two matches he has played so far, had troubled Kohli a fair deal with his swingers and short deliveries and the master batsman had perished for just 5 runs. It was the final of the 2017 ICC Champions trophy which India had eventually lost. Amir would be looking to stage a repeat of that feat at Old Trafford on June 16, but he would be mindful that Kohli hardly ever repeats his mistakes.
Mohammad Amir vs Rohit Sharma: Sharma has “an extra second when he faces pacers”, say his teammates. But like Kohli, Sharma also has a score to settle when he goes out to bat on Sunday. Mohammad Amir had completely beaten Rohit Sharma in the final of ICC Champions trophy in 2017 and sent him back on the third ball for a duck. It remains to be seen who gets the better of whom this time.
Wahab Riaz vs Virat Kohli: If Mohammad Amir was not enough, another Pakistan pacer Wahab Riaz could also be a nightmare for India's batsmen. Riaz knows how to use his pacey short balls, and Indian batsmen have not yet faced that in World Cup 2019. If one were to pick one of Wahab Riaz's most dangerous spells, it would be from the Pakistan vs Australia match in ICC World Cup 2015 quarterfinals, where Australia's Shane Watson faced the fury from the man in green. There was a series bouncers and all Watson could do was to dodge, duck or surrender. Can Wahab produce something similar? Will Kohli surrender, too? Let's not predict anything yet.
Jasprit Bumrah vs Fakhar Zaman: It's not been a year since Fakhar faced Bumrah in the 2018 Asia Cup match. With the bowling figure of 10-1-29-2, Bumrah was at his usual best. The young gun could fire with more fury this time. Fakhar has 58 runs in the two matches he has played so far and looks dangerous. But he hasn't been able to justify his worth at the top of the order. Bumrah would have an edge if it's more about mind games on the field at Old Trafford.
Jasprit Bumrah vs Imam-Ul-Haq: Be it short balls or pacey yorkers, Bumrah has it all. Imam has 4 runs in the two matches he has played so far. It remains to be seen how the southpaw performs as Virat Kohli deploys Bumrah for an early jolt.
Jasprit Bumrah vs Babar Azam: Azam has been one of the most successful batsmen for Pakistan in World Cup 2019, with a half-century to his name. Pakistan would expect him to shine against India as well, but facing Bumrah would not be a cakewalk for the batsman.