India face Pakistan in crucial Asia Cup tie

Published: February 27, 2016
Due to diplomatic tensions, the two neighbours have not played any series for more than three years.

Due to diplomatic tensions, the two neighbours have not played any series for more than three years.

DHAKA: Sub-continental giants India and Pakistan meet in a crunch match in the Asia Cup Twenty20 tournament in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on Saturday, renewing their bitter rivalry in cricket after a year.

Showdowns between the neighbours, who last played in the 50-over World Cup in Australia-New Zealand in February 2015, usually draw hundreds of millions of television viewers, making the contests the biggest box office attraction in the sport.

2016 Asia Cup: Pakistan, India focusing on respective strengths

But diplomatic tensions have meant that the two teams have not played any series for more than three years and their rivalry is restricted to multi-national tournaments.

Pakistan, furious that India has rebuffed repeated pleas to play a series at a neutral venue, will be desperate to cause an upset against their giant neighbour.

But ahead of the match, Pakistan’s captain Shahid Afridi sounded diplomatic, saying the game could be an opportunity to improve relations between the two nations, which have fought three wars since their independence some seven decades ago.

“Sport can always develop good relationships between countries,” Afridi told reporters at Fatullah, outside Dhaka, on Friday.

“I think Pakistani people want to see the Indians in Pakistan while Indians would also like to see the Pakistanis playing over there.

“We should not give sports a political colour. We should consider the public demand and we always try to give this message.”

Afridi’s Pakistan will start as underdogs having lost five of their six previous Twenty20 internationals to India.

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India came into the tournament on a string of good performances after defeating Australia and Sri Lanka in back-to-back series.

They carried their success into the Asia Cup opening match against hosts Bangladesh this week, registering a crushing 45-run win to give themselves the perfect boost before the Pakistan match.

Indian opener Rohit Sharma, who played a match-winning knock of 83 from 55 balls against Bangladesh, still chose to be cautious.

“Pakistan have a formidable bowling attack, no doubt,” he said.

“But we would want to concentrate more on our strengths and prepare our plans accordingly. Our strength is batting and depending on the wicket we will have to focus on that,” he said.

The Asia Cup, a biennial 12-day tournament, is being held in Twenty20 format for the first time in view of next month’s World Twenty20 in India.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • PrasadDeccani
    Feb 27, 2016 - 10:26AM

    Good luck to both the teams. Make the game as interesting as you can.Recommend

  • sunny
    Feb 27, 2016 - 10:53AM

    Pakistan should not play any kind of match with hindustan. hindustan disrespected our PCB chairman and cricket fans. As a little cricket fan , i am going to ban watching all matches of T20WC and Asia cup. It’s a peaceful protest by patriot Pakistani citizen. It’s the least thing i can do. Recommend

  • Bilal
    Feb 27, 2016 - 11:33AM


  • sashi
    Feb 27, 2016 - 12:39PM

    I think matches between Pakistan and India do not have the kind of interest of yester years and as far as India is concerned, it is just another match unlike in Pakistan it is matter of pride and religious Zeal to beat the infidels.As far as Indians are concerned it is just another match win or loseRecommend

  • jay.
    Feb 27, 2016 - 1:42PM

    @sunny: It also shows how much self Respect PCB has , After so much disrepect PCB still wants to pLay India.

    Also show some protest towards USA they have disrespected Pak by droning it so many times, Salala ? Remember ? How about stopping using Internet after all USA invented NET ! Recommend

  • Feroz
    Feb 27, 2016 - 3:40PM

    May the team that plays better on the day win. We must remember it is a game and winning and losing is part of the process, not the end of the world. Good Luck to both of them !Recommend

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