A few hours from now, India and Pakistan will face each other in an ODI for the first time in four years. The last time they played each other was back in 2019 in Manchester during the 50-over World Cup when Virat Kohli’s men outplayed Sarfraz Ahmed’s team by 89 runs.
Since then, the two sides have faced off in only T20 cricket, playing four matches in 2021 and 2022. Both won two games each.
India-Pakistan matches are always closely followed and have historically been significant.
The results of the recent T20 games have added to the legend.
Pakistan scored their first-ever win over India in a World Cup, winning by 10 wickets in Dubai at the 2021 T20 World Cup.
Last year, in August-September in UAE, the two teams won one duel each at the T20 Asia Cup which served as a precursor for October’s T20 World Cup. The World Cup game in Melbourne saw Virat Kohli taking India beyond the finish line after Pakistan had looked on top.
Saturday’s match at Pallekele, although amid threats of rain, will be the first of three possible India-Pakistan encounters in the ongoing ODI Asia Cup. The two are expected to coast to the Super 4s where they will be face each other again. If they finish as top 2 teams in Super 4s, then they’ll play the final on September 17.
These matches at ODI Asia Cup will be followed by the ICC 50-over Cricket World Cup game between the two sides on October 14 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
Pakistan unchanged, India to decide on Kohli’s slot
Coming back to Saturday’s match, Pakistan are going in with the side that beat Nepal in the first match.
For India, the key decision will be on batting line-up – whether Virat Kohli bats at his regular No. 3 position or slips down to No. 4 due to the absence of KL Rahul, who is out injured for first two matches. India are also seeing the return for Jasprit Bumrah who has not played against Pakistan since the 2021 10-wicket loss at the T20 World Cup in UAE.