India vs Pakistan World Cup – Weather, Preview and other Updates

Preview by Kaushik Rangarajan

When: India vs Pakistan, October 14, 2023, 14:00 IST

Where: Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad

What to expect: A sweltering day with a high of 36 degrees Celsius is forecast to welcome the fielding team at match start. The reward for that discomfort is the possibility of dew making batting much easier in the second half as Pakistan observed two nights out from the game. The pitch on match eve seemed like a black soil one with a slight green tinge left to help with the binding. If it plays anything like it did on the opening day and is expected to, teams will need a score in the region of 330-340 to feel somewhat secure.

Even Jurassic Park wasn’t additive-free. If the genetic codes were pure, those dinosaurs would have looked quite different. But nobody, neither the park’s owners nor us the audience, wanted normal. We kept asking for more teeth.

India and Pakistan are dinosaurs. They’re wow enough. Put them on a cricket field and they breathe a very different life to the game with their shared history, geography, culture and even jingoism. But it is not #GreatestRivalry in the ‘Greatest Cricket World Cup ever’ without the scope and scale of this two-pointer game getting wider. We see your Melbourne 2022 and raise you Ahmedabad 2023. While we’re at it, how about an entertainment program before the entertainment begins, nine days after the show got underway in this very place.

It somehow seems unfair to expect only 22 out of a billion-plus to act sober even when it is clearly business, but not as usual. While both India and Pakistan are united by their shared experience of the extreme being their everyday, Rohit Sharma’s team might just have an edge in this regard. They are familiar with the idea of taking their pre-match routines outside this giant saucer of a stadium, as they did before the start of a Test match earlier this year to accommodate the political pageantry. Pakistan on this historic visit, however, seem ready to embrace anything that comes their way. Be it the cheers, the flipped returns for their top and middle-orders, and incessant questions about biryani.

For all their talent, they however remain a team that can still be governed by emotions on the field. They drive from it but can also succumb to it. In the heat of the final exchanges at the MCG last year, it was Shadab Khan and not Babar moving fielders around, setting plays and generally taking over decision making with even Hardik Pandya, the batter, helping position the third man fielder properly. India deal with the chaos slightly better. They’ve won a home World Cup before and their players are far too along the path of process to be easily swayed.

Which brings us to the largest dino in the park: the 7-0 streak. Those numbers, as in the stadium tomorrow, are stacked up against Pakistan. And it will need a massive effort against a well-rounded Indian outfit, but if Babar and Co. can find a way to upend the odds, this tournament may just get the organic spark it has so dearly longed for.

Team Watch:

India: Shubman Gill pushed himself to practice for half-an-hour two days out from the game. On the day before the game, skipper Rohit Sharma said 99%, when asked about Gill’s availability. Gill joined the team for practice on match eve but a call on his participation is likely to be taken only closer to the game. Meanwhile, with spin to have a lesser say in the contest, Shardul Thakur is expected to hold on to his place ahead of Ravichandran Ashwin.

Tactics & Strategy

Kuldeep Yadav vs Babar Azam was a marquee contest that didn’t see the light of the day in the Asia Cup after the left-arm spinner produced a ball for the ages in Manchester. Kuldeep has dismissed the Pakistan skipper twice in 18 balls bowled at him. How Pakistan’s batting ace shrugs off his lukewarm run in ODIs this year [Avg: 38.06, SR: 78.68] and wades through the crucial middle overs of spin from Kuldeep could well define Pakistan’s batting effort. Watch out also for how India’s middle-order with an overhauled approach from four years ago match up against Pakistan’s misfiring spin duo of Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz.

Probable XI: Rohit Sharma (c), Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj

Pakistan: Babar’s side have a clean bill of health and are unlikely to ring in any change to the team that beat Sri Lanka.

Tactics & Strategy

Shaheen Afridi was the architect of Pakistan’s most significant moment in any World Cup match against India when he packed off Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul in a stunning opening spell in Dubai two years ago. He will be tasked with creating a similar impact against an imposing, but right-heavy batting line-up susceptible to his left-arm angle.

Probable XI: Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf

Did you know?

– Rohit Sharma has hit 23 sixes in the PowerPlay in ODIs played this year. Pakistan have hit none. In fact, Pakistan have not hit a single six in the Powerplay phase in their last 20 ODIs.

– Virat Kohli has been dismissed for a sub-50 score only once in eight World Cup [ODI + T20] games against Pakistan. That was in 2011.

– Since the start of this millennium, Pakistan hold a 9-7 head-to-head record in ODIs in and against India.

What they said:

“I didn’t get the captaincy because of a match and I will not lose it because of a match.” – Babar Azam isn’t worried about his position being defined by one game.


India Squad: Rohit Sharma(c), Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul(w), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Shubman Gill, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Suryakumar Yadav

Pakistan Squad: Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam(c), Mohammad Rizwan(w), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Agha Salman, Fakhar Zaman, Usama Mir, Mohammad Wasim Jr



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