Who: India vs Pakistan
When: Saturday, October 14, 2pm (08:30 GMT)
Where: Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad, India
Tens of millions of sports fans in South Asia and the rest of the cricket world will have their eyes and ears focused on one thing tomorrow – the much-anticipated ICC Cricket World Cup match between hosts India and regional rivals Pakistan.
Keep readinglist of 4 items
Pakistan are in India for the first time since the 2016 Twenty20 World Cup.
The 1992 World Cup champions Pakistan have never beaten two-time champion India in a 50-over World Cup match.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam is approaching the with a complete disregard for the past.
“I don’t think about the past, I’d rather focus on the future,” Babar told reporters with a wry smile on his face.
“All records are meant to be broken, and we’ll try to break this record tomorrow.”
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) October 13, 2023
Leading up to this highly anticipated match 12 of this tournament, India and Pakistan have won both their first two games.
India defeated five-time champions Australia by six wickets in Chennai, and then Afghanistan by eight wickets in Delhi.
Pakistan played both their opening fixtures in Hyderabad – beating the Netherlands in the first game by 81 runs and Sri Lanka by six wickets, thanks to a record batting chase under lights.
Pakistan’s Babar said his message to his teammates was to see it as an opportunity to perform well and etch their names into the memories of those watching back home.
“India-Pakistan match is a big game, a high-intensity contest. I’ve told my boys it’s a great opportunity – give your best, execute your plans and believe in yourself,” he said.
Spectator attendance has been a big talking point across this tournament, with half-empty stands being an obvious eyesore.
Saturday won’t have that problem – the Narendra Modi Stadium is expected to attract a crowd of more than 100,000.
Babar said Pakistan are aiming to put on their best show in front of a big crowd at the “massive stadium.”
In One-Day Internationals, the head-to-head record favours Pakistan with 73 wins against India’s 56.
When it comes to Cricket World Cup history, the scale is heavily tilted in India’s favour. Pakistan have never beaten India in the ICC ODI World Cup in their seven meetings.
Both teams go into the match with two wins in the bag.
Pakistan survived a Dutch fight in their opening match and then chased a record total to beat Sri Lanka earlier this week.
India opened their tournament in a low-scoring win against Australia and swept aside Afghanistan for their second one.
India: W W L W W
Pakistan: W W L L W
Opener Shubman Gill, who missed the Australia and Afghanistan games because of dengue fever, has rejoined the team in Ahmedabad. Gill is expected to miss the Pakistan game as well, with Ishan Kishan to continue to open the batting with Sharma.
India will also toy with the idea of bringing back off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s batting change against Sri Lanka worked wonders, with Abdullah Shafique scoring a fine hundred on World Cup debut. It consigns out-of-form Fakhar Zaman to the bench at least in the short term, while also adding strength to the batting lineup that is so dependent on captain Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan.
India: Ishan Kishan, Rohit Sharma (captain), Virat Kohli, KL Rahul (wicket-keeper), Shreyas Iyer, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jaspit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj
Pakistan: Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Muhammad Rizwan, Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf