Mumbai: India and Pakistan matches are usually no less than a cracker and if the arch-rivals meet in the World Cup, the temperature soars higher. Although Team India came out with flying colours in all five occasions when the nations met, things could change in ICC World Cup 2015 Down Under. Why?
No taste of win: The Men in Blue are yet to taste victory in Australian conditions and do not look in the best of form. It is no different for Pakistan too – who lost to New Zealand – but the team spirit seemed better than the Indians.
Controversy, retirements: Everytime India beat Pakistan in the mega event, they were mentally a stronger unit. This time, lot has been said about cracks in the dressing room post Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s shock retirement from Tests, a confusion regarding Shikhar Dhawan’s batting position in one of the Test matches and Virat Kohli favouriting a tweet (then deleting it after sometime) against Dhoni.
The ‘Sachin’ factor: The Pakistanis always wanted to get that one wicket to seal their fortune – Sachin Tendulkar. The Little Master had a psychological effect on all opponents with his presence. Now that he has retired, nobody has really filled in the void. Virat Kohli comes closer.
Shahid Afridi’s last World Cup: The attacking batsman – in the business for 19 years – announced retirement post the World Cup. Since he had said that he could better AB de Villiers’ fastest hundred record, he will look to go for the kill. There might not be stopping the Boom Boom man this time who also hit a last-ball six to take Pakistan through against India in Asia Cup, 2014.
Bowlers: Mohammad Irfan is tall, has pace and can hit the deck. He will be effective in the Australian conditions. Wahab Riaz did well against India in 2011 too. Shahid Afridi can be a dangerous bowler Down Under with his vicious spin which is fast as well. On the other hand, India have bowlers who are clueless about line and length, leave alone going for wickets.