Pakistan win the toss, choose to field against India

Pakistan win the toss, choose to field against India

MANCHESTER: Pakistan have won the toss and decided to field first against India in their crucial World Cup 2019 fixture at Old Trafford in Manchester.
Pakistan have included Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan in their squad replacing Asif Ali and Shaheen Shah Afridi.
After winning the toss, Sarfaraz pointed to the overhead conditions as the main reason for his decision. Kohli too wanted to bowl first but wasn’t too disappointed. Vijay Shankar comes in for Shikhar Dhawan.
Rain can be a spoiler in today’s contest as UK’s Met Office has forecasted the weather in Manchester as cloudy changing to heavy rain by lunchtime.
As many as one billion people are expected to watch the match on television. It’s a special time. It’s an opportunity for cricketers to cement their legacies and bring joy to their countries.
Pakistan comes into this match with one win and two losses. The team so far has lived up to its unpredictable tag as they lost to West Indies and Australia but surprisingly beat tournament favourites England.
The Green Shirts will be looking to win their first-ever match against India at the World Cup. India, on the other hand, is unbeaten in the tournament. They have outclassed South Africa and Australia in their previous encounters of the tournament.
India (Playing XI): Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul, Virat Kohli(c), Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni(w), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah
Pakistan (Playing XI): Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfaraz Ahmed(w/c), Shoaib Malik, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir
The eyes of more than a billion television viewers around the globe will turn to Manchester when arch-rivals India and Pakistan meet on Sunday (today) at 2:30pm in the most highly-anticipated group match of the World Cup.
Such was the desire of fans to cheer on their heroes in person that, according to the International Cricket Council’s own figures, there were some 800,000 applications for tickets to watch the match at an Old Trafford ground where the capacity is 26,000.
It’s no wonder then that officials are desperate the match does not fall victim to rain in what is already a record World Cup for washouts.
It was overcast and cool today morning, an hour before the scheduled toss.
The United Kingdom Met Office has forecast an 80 per cent chance of heavy rain at 5pm. Prior to 5pm, there is a 10 per cent chance of rain.
“India v Pakistan is always a big game — it’s like the final before the final,” said chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq.
“It’s watched all over the world and whoever wins on Sunday will surely have a big celebration.”
This match is all the more eagerly awaited because political pressures have put a stop to India-Pakistan fixtures outside of major tournaments.
India cut off bilateral cricket ties with its neighbour after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, which authorities blamed on militants allegedly from Pakistan.
Pakistan toured India in 2012/13 for a series of One-Day Internationals and Twenty20 matches but that was their last encounter outside of a multi-national event.
And there were calls for a boycott of Sunday’s match after tensions soared following a deadly incident in Kashmir earlier this year.
In February a suicide bombing in Indian occupied Kashmir, claimed by a militant group allegedly based in Pakistan, killed 40 Indian troops.
India and Pakistan then carried out tit-for-tat air strikes.
Remarkably, given the strengths of both sides, India have won all six of their previous World Cup encounters against Pakistan.
India also beat Pakistan in their most recent match at the Asia Cup in the United Arab Emirates last year.
But Pakistan can take heart from the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy in England, when they thrashed India by 180 runs.
An India team led by star batsman Virat Kohli have lived up to their billing as potential champions with two wins and a washout in three matches so far.
The number-two ranked side won their opener against South Africa and then beat title-holders Australia before a no result against New Zealand.
Pakistan, by contrast, are struggling in the 10-team event with just one win — an upset against England — two defeats and a washout.
But former batsman Inzamam, a member of the Pakistan team that won the 1992 World Cup, insisted all was not lost for Sarfaraz Ahmed’s side.
“I believe Pakistan have the ability to win the World Cup,” he said.
“They haven’t performed too well so far, and Sunday is important for them to stay in the competition.”
The stakes are not as high for India but that is unlikely to ease the pressure on Kohli’s men.
“It’s been competitive for years. It’s a marquee event all over the world, and an honour to be a part of the big game,” Kohli said.
“It brings out the best in all of us.”
Some supporters put winning Sunday’s match above seeing their side lift the World Cup trophy.
“We want to win this match even if Kohli loses the Cup, we don’t care,” Harron Memon, an India fan in Nottingham, told AFP.
Pakistan, for all their World Cup woes, have won 73 of their 131 One-Day Internationals against India and one Pakistan fan tweeted: “We have always dominated India in cricket. Call it war or sport, we are certainly going to win it come Sunday.”
Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram, however, urged supporters to keep the match in perspective.
“One team will win, one team will lose, so stay graceful and do not take this as a war,” he told AFP in Manchester.
“Those who project this match as war are not true cricket fans.”
Meanwhile, former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi, made his own appeal for calm by telling AFP: “May there be peace and tranquility while the two Asian giants fight it out on the cricket field.
“And may the better team win without losing out on the etiquette of cricket.” …Agencies

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