|Pakistan hold all the aces against India in Asia Cup|
|Sunday, 18 March 2012 02:50|
MIRPUR: For Team India, it was supposed to be a stage rehearsal for the final, but not anymore. A defeat against Bangladesh has come as a shock for MS Dhoni and his boys and now they are up against a resurgent Pakistan looking for revenge.
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The teams have met in two crucial encounters in the last two years (World Cup semifinal in 2011 and Asia Cup in 2010), and India have triumphed on both occasions. But this time, Pakistan hold the aces.
It's the Pakistan bowling attack that is making them look formidable in this tournament. Umar Gul is the spearhead with some decent back-up in the form of Aizaz Cheema, who won the Man of the Match award against Sri Lanka.
It's the spin attack comprising of Saeed Ajmal, veteran Shahid Afridi and the canny Mohammad Hafeez, though, which is bound to make life difficult for Indian batsmen. "India-Pakistan matches are traditionally a battle between India's batting and our bowling. And I think we have the ammunition to put them under pressure," Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq said.
The one good thing that has happened to India is that Sachin Tendulkar is free of the burden of a 100th hundred. He has mentioned quite a few times over the last 24 hours that the pressure was taking its toll on him, and now he is going into this game with a completely free mind. "I made my debut against Pakistan way back in 1989 and have always liked playing against them. I am looking forward to the game," Tendulkar said, giving the impression that he will look to fire on all cylinders in this crucial encounter.
The rest of the top-order too has found form but it's the Indian bowling that is woefully short on resources on tracks that have nothing in them. Irfan Pathan was completely off-colour against Bangladesh while Praveen Kumar's form, too, wasn't exactly inspiring.