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India vs Pakistan - Round Two

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India_Pakistan_CricketMen’s Cricket – mammoth in popular culture – has dominated the sport not only in size and duration of contests held each year, but also by the number of records dished out, time and again.

But that’s perhaps because with great power, also comes a great opportunity to leave a mark on the game’s heart. That said, it would be wrong to suggest that the tons of action in the sport is only dominated by the Kohli-Williamson-Smith version of the game.

From Cricket’s vantage point, it couldn’t be a more exciting time to be a key exponent in a game where the likes of Jhulan Goswami, Meg Lanning, Stafanie Taylor are dominating headlines. Where the battle for effective leadership has produced the likes of India’s Mithali Raj and Pakistan’s Sana Mir as inspirational figures.

We shall once again see, hopefully, a thrilling spectacle of two immensely interesting sides in women’s cricket lock horns at the pinnacle of Women’s Cricket competition.

Brace yourselves for the battle of titans between an indomitable India led by an in-form Mithali Raj, and a Pakistan looking to find its groove under the calm and collected leadership of Sana Mir, amidst Cricket’s grand celebration.

Just days ago, Pakistan did what even purists might have dubbed as unthinkable, in their 180-run rout of Kohli’s India. The Champions Trophy ended its rain-marred run by producing Pakistan as the ultimate winners in a grueling showdown.

So what do the fans expect from the epic contest when the India women take on their Pakistani counterparts?

If you’ve followed her career in the more recent past, it might occur to you that in Mithali Raj, India have an inspired leader- graceful under pressure and seemingly unflappable under stress in a game often utterly dominated by Australia.

Their dignified, mellow speaking leader, India Women’s team is going to count big on Raj, a veteran of 178 ODIs. On current form, the most experienced campaigner from India in their playing eleven has struck 11 fifties in the past 17 ODI innings, having already begun the contest with a match-winning 71 against hosts England.

Her counterpart, all rounder Sana Mir’s value, can be gauged from the fact that in current ODI bowler’s rankings, the 31-year-old campaigner occupies the 6th position. Mir has scalped 106 wickets from 95 innings with 3 four-wicket hauls.

One could expect Pakistan’s zeal to clash with India’s temerity and consistency. That said, India’s rich vein of form is also riding high on the immense self belief of fast bowling legend Jhulan Goswami, whose career stands on an all-time high of being the highest wicket taker in the Women’s ODI game- 185 wickets, 153 ODIs and a bitingly impressive average of under 22.

To speak of bowling, Pakistan will be rounding up some of their most valuable assets to challenge India’s gritty batswomen - Madhanana, Raut, Harmanpreet and the likes- including Asmavia Iqbal; 65 wickets from 88 innings, at an economy of 4.5, Bismah Mahroof; 35 wickets from 55 innings at a miserly economy of under 3.9 an over and, their most experienced campaigner, thus far, off-break specialist, captain Sana Mir.

But how easy will it be for Pakistan to control a free flowing Smriti Mandhana, knowing well that to follow in the middle order are giants of the game- Harmanpreet Kaur and Mithali Raj- sharing a combined experience of 238 ODIs and nearly 7000 ODI runs?

While Mithali Raj would want the 20-year-old Mandhana to carve those glorious effortless cuts, square of the off side, typical of the youngster’s forte, India would do well to pay caution against unguarded thoughts; that of taking Pakistan lightly, a side competing with the useful experience of record-breaking batswoman Nain Abidi, their side’s first ever ODI century maker.

If there’s one Pakistani batswoman who knows India Women’s team inside out, then it’s Nain Abidi, a campaigner of 82 ODI contests, someone who debuted a decade ago against India and a campaigner who, with 8 fluent fifties and 1 hundred has the experience and diligence to the turn the game on her own.

Foes, they might be for anarchists who cannot seem to fathom the idea of peace between the neighbors who bring to the 22 yards, a reminder of just the kind of thrill that an India versus Pakistan contest can bring. But, it can be said for sure, that while Pakistan bring in the flair and exuberance to the game, they might have to play out of their skin to counter India’s redoubtable ODI credentials.

Here’s a head-to-head comparison for your perspective.

 

Year of starting playing ODIs

Pakistan

1996/97

India

1978, first played in World Cup

Total no of ODI series contested in

39

Over 45

No of bi-lateral contests contested in

23

31

No of ODI matches contested in, if you consider bi-lateral series

 73

131

No of ODI wins in bi-lateral series

 20

66

No of ODI losses in bi-lateral series

52

62

No result

1 game versus SA

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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