Team India are set to take on arch-rivals Pakistan in what will the opening fixture for both sides at the ongoing T20 World Cup 2022 taking place in Australia (October 23). The hype around the fixture is very high as the cricketing world get set to witness the high-intensity contest at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). With sides enduring injuries to their key players in recent months, it will be interesting to see the playing eleven from both Rohit Sharma and Babar Azam. On one hand, Jasprit Bumrah is no longer available for India and on the other Shaheen Shah Afridi is available after sitting out for three months due to injury.
Rohit Sharma is in desperate need of an experienced fast-bowler to bowl in the death overs as he himself has validated the issue of his side leaking runs in the death overs. Veteran pacer Mohammed Shami is definitely an option he would like to consider alongside Bhuvneshwar Kumar. With rain hovering over Melbourne for Sunday’s clash, the pitch and conditions are likely to help the seamers.
As we all know the batting order for Rohit Sharma is set. It is unlikely to see him surprising the whole world by changing the top-four, who are arguably one of the best top-order batters in the world of cricket right now. The question still remains whether Rishabh Pant will get a chance or Dinesh Karthik will continue to be the first-choice keeper.
Hardik Pandya is a must in Team India’s World Cup campaign as he bring balance to the bowling and much-needed depth in the batting lineup as well. The big question remaining after that is whether Ravichandran Ashwin will come in place of Axar Patel or the left-hander will be picked following his better batting skills.
Babar Azam’s Pakistan, on the other hand, hand the upper hand in the all-rounder department as both their first-choice players Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz are available for selection and are likely to play. In absence of pace sensation Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah stoodup for their captain and this time they will join forces with Afridi in the opener against India.
In the recent Pakistan series against New Zealand, Shan Masood performed brilliantly and Babar Azam might just pick him over Fakhar Zaman who’s been struggling for runs in recent times.
India Predicted 11: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Axar Patel/Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh
Pakistan Predicted 11: Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan, Shan Masood, Haider Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Shah Afridi