Pak vs Ind: Fans likely to witness complete match between arch-rivals, as chances of rain dwindle

Sports Desk
Pakistan team celebrating after taking a wicket during T20 World Cup warm-up match. — Instagram/@therealPCB
Pakistan team celebrating after taking a wicket during T20 World Cup warm-up match. — Instagram/@therealPCB

  • Chances of rain further diminish in Melbourne.
  • Group 2 high-voltage clash due to begin at 1pm.
  • Pakistan will look to capitalise on pacer Haris Rauf.

The rain threat that loomed over high-octane Pakistan vs India match has dwindled as the sky in Melbourne has cleared and the fans can expect a 40-over contest between the arch-rivals. 

The sun has come out in Melbourne and the weather is partly cloudy with a cold breeze.

As per the latest weather update, there is less than a 5% chance of rain in Melbourne during the day today and below 15% chance of precipitation from 7pm to 10pm and only a 24% chance of rain at night.

The Group 2 high-voltage clash, which is the 16th match of the world's biggest cricket event, will begin at 1pm, Pakistan time, at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), a cricket stadium that can house 100,000 spectators.

Starting their World Cup journey in today's faceoff, the Men in Green will hit the ground with the confidence of their ten-wicket win against India in the last T20 World Cup.

The side will look to capitalise on pacer Haris Rauf when they take on the arch-rivals India, who they have defeated in two of their last three encounters in 12 months.

However, their arch-rivals have an impressive history of winning nine of the 12 T20 matches versus Pakistan.

When Pakistan beat India in a high-voltage T20 World Cup in Dubai last year, pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi was their star performer.

At the MCG, Shaheen will be back in the line-up to bolster Pakistan’s attack in the big match against India but this time another fast bowler could play a key role for the team. The reason Pakistan is looking towards Rauf is not just due to his current form but also because he has plenty of experience playing at the MCG as the lead pacer for Melbourne Stars in the BBL.

Babar Azam, the Pakistan captain, told reporters on Saturday that Haris has been sharing information about MCG conditions with his teammates.

“Haris has been an outstanding bowler for us and one of the most improved players in our team. He recently played tremendously, especially in Shaheen’s absence.

Meanwhile, India Skipper Rohit Sharma said on Saturday that India is relishing the “challenge” of facing Pakistan in their opening match of the Twenty20 World Cup.

Before the team left for Australia, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ramiz Raja advised the Babar Azam-led team to dream of winning the tournament. He said, "World Cup is a mind game. It is a task of not losing courage and a fulfilment of a dream — which is to win a world cup."

Pakistan's bowling line-up has been laced with Shaheed Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah. Shaheen seems fully energised after his relatively long rehabilitation in London. However, batter Fakhar Zaman will not be available for this match owing to his injury.

The buoyant Men in Green have a high chance of reenacting their historic moment at the MCG thirty years ago when they won the 50-over World Cup.

India has always been declared the pre-WC favourites in the last two decades. However, they could not lift any ICC cup since the 2013 Champions Trophy. India stands a chance to change the history of the world cup with one of the most formidable lineups in the world this time.

The Indian side enjoys an enviable batting lineup including Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav, to name a few. Meanwhile, Pakistan has Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan who are the top-ranked batters in the world.

The ICC said the tickets for the blockbuster match were sold out within minutes of going on sale.

India and Pakistan are in Group 2 with Bangladesh, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the Netherlands. The top two progress into the semi-finals in Australia.


Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wicket-keeper/batter), Mohammad Wasim, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Shan Masood.

Standby players: Usman Qadir, Mohammad Haris, and Shahnawaz Dahani.

India squad: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Arshdeep Singh, and Mohammed Shami.

Standby players: Mohammed Siraj, Shreyas Iyer, Ravi Bishnoi, Shardul Thakur.