Perform or perish situation for Pakistan
Nov 15: Men in Blue will play to seal the series in their favour
It will be a perform or perish situation for the neighbouring Pakistan team when they face India in the fourth One-day international match of the Indian Oil Cup at the Roop Singh Stadium here on Thursday.
For skipper Shoaib Malik this will be a make or break match, as they have to clinch a win here to remain in the title hunt. On the other hand India, with a 2-1 lead in the on-going five-match ODI series will play with an intention to wrap up the series. Men in Blue will come out hard to seal the series at this very point otherwise it would be difficult for them to stop Pakistanis in the decider.
Once again skipper Malik is heavily relying on the Rawalpindi Express. Presently the fast bowler is not at his lethal best as he came out well in patches thus far. Still one man who could change it all remains Shoaib Akhtar.
Shoaib also accepted that he came down to India without much practice, “There’s no doubt I wanted to play this series very much. But I would have liked to have played another four-day match before it got underway.”
“This is our last chance and we are very much aware of the importance,
It’s a question of life and death. We are determined to fight till the end. The result is obviously not in our hands,” said Malik.
The spinners so far have clearly made the difference between the two sides. Pakistan side must is clearly missing out a quality spinner in the team.
Harbhajan Singh and Murali Kartik have really been the X-factor in the series. Both have taken crucial wickets and moreover successfully restricted the flow of runs in the middle of the innings. Apart from that Harbhajan bowled superbly in the dying overs.
On the other hand Pakistan spinners have been really pricey. Their only regular spinner Abdur Rehman is certainly lacking experience against quality Indian batting. Shahid Afridi remained successful that too in the first match only.
“Yes, Indian spinners are doing well at the moment. Ours are struggling a bit, going through a bad patch. But things will be alright,” said Malik.
“We have to keep a check on the flow of runs also. We are working hard on that and hopefully things will fall in place for us in this match,” Malik added.
India must be aware of Pakistan’s ability to bounce back, they should not take things lightly. During the yesterday’s practice session the Indian players gave extra stress on physical fitness and fielding.
Indian fielders haven’t been able to give ample support to the bowlers. They gave away easy runs and even dropped crucial catches.
Sarfraz Ahmed the reinforcement for injured Kamran Akmal arrived on Wednesday and had a practice session with the side. It is likely that Akmal will play despite injury concerns.
Skipper Malik was optimistic about Akmal’s inclusion in the final eleven, “It’s a slight niggle… Nothing serious.”
However he clearly said, “Akmal will have to undergo a fitness test, and if he is fit he will play.”
Besides, whichever team wins the toss will certainly wants to bat first akin to all day-night matches, as the dew factor will surely come into play in the evening session.
INDIA (from): Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Murali Kartik, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Robin Uthappa, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan and Rudra Pratap Singh.
PAKISTAN (from): Salman Butt, Kamran Akmal, Younis Khan, Mohammed Yousuf, Shoaib Malik, Misbah-ul Haq, Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanveer, Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul, Rao Iftikhar, Sarfraz and Abdur Rehman.
Umpires: Billy Doctrove and A.M. Saheba. TV: Suresh Shastri.
Match Referee: Roshan Mahanama.
Match starts: 2.30 p.m.
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