5 talking points as India and Pakistan prepare for CWC19 clash
Speaking of Mohammad Amir, he wasn’t in Pakistan’s initial 15-man World Cup squad but once injuries gave him an opportunity at the tournament, the left-arm seamer has seized it in style.
Three wickets against West Indies, two against England and brilliant figures of 5/30 against Australia have put him among the tournament’s leading wicket-takers.
The 27-year-old’s battle against the Indian top order could prove decisive and Amir will be particularly encouraged by his recent record against opener Rohit Sharma – trapping him LBW with his third ball in that 2017 Champions Trophy final, having dismissed him in the same manner with his second ball in the Asia Cup a year prior.
Amir has proven himself a bowler for the big occasion and occasions don’t come much bigger than this.
With KL Rahul expected to move up from No.4 open the batting for India in the absence of the injured Shikhar Dhawan, more pressure could fall on the shoulders of Virat Kohli at three.
Fortunately, the Indian skipper seems impervious and has carried the team on his back plenty of times during his 11-year international career.
Kohli demonstrated his form with a classy knock of 82 against Australia and has a healthy average of 45.90, with two tons and a half-century, in his 12 ODIs against Pakistan.
The number one batsman in the ODI rankings also sports a ridiculous 70.33 average over the past four years in the format – racking up 5,697 runs in that time – so limiting the damage he can cause will be a vital, if unenviable, task for Mickey Arthur’s men.