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How India can Pak a punch

The lowdown on the Pakistani players who could make an impact on Monday’s game, and how India can tackle them.

cricket Updated: Nov 05, 2007 22:49 IST

The lowdown on the Pakistani players who could make an impact on Monday’s game, and how India can tackle them.

Batsmen

Misbah-ul-Haq
The find of the tournament for Pakistan, Misbah has ably replaced the prolific Mohammad Yousuf. He has had a superb tournament, leading his team to victory over Australia, and almost over the line against India. He has handled pressure coolly.

How to counter him
It’s not everyday that you play a World Cup final. India would hope the occasion gets to the relatively inexperienced Misbah.

Shoaib Malik
He has led with authority and panache. Blessed with a great cricketing brain, Malik has used the resources available to him brilliantly. Be it shuffling his bowlers around, or changing the batting line-up, Malik has made the right moves. He has batted well, too.

How to counter him
Put pressure on him right from the start. Malik mustn’t be allowed to execute his plans. He has to be forced to make decisions, which he wouldn’t normally have made. The bowlers have to exploit the big gap between his bat and pad when he flicks.

Younis Khan
Younis has been the thorn in India’s flesh and would look to continue to do pretty much the same on Monday. Though he hasn’t had a great tournament so far, averaging a paltry 17.16, Younis has, in the past, proved capable of turning it around.

How to counter him
He’s hardly shown weaknesses againt India. But Irfan Pathan did get him more than once with his late in-swingers during that 2003-04 series.

Bowlers

Mohammed Asif
A brilliant bowler, Asif has the deadly combination of pace and late movement, which can trouble the best. Ripped the heart out of the Indian batting in the group game.

How to counter him
Apart from that 4/18 against India, Asif hasn’t had a great tournament. Not completely fit, he has erred on line and length and has been plundered for runs. The Indian openers should look to cash in, and early.

Umar Gul
The most economical of Pakistan’s bowlers, Gul was instrumental in clipping the high-flying Kiwis’ wings in the semifinal. Is very dangerous while in full flow, Gul has the talent to run through the Indian batting.

How to counter him
Loses patience early. If India can see off his first burst without any casualties, he could get frustrated and provide width.

Sohail Tanvir
He has been a revelation. Though he isn’t a tearaway, Tanvir has shown he has the talent to get wickets. He has been on target with his line and length and can move the ball late.

How to counter him
He’s inexperienced and India must make things hot for him.

X-factor

Shahid Afridi
Pakistan would be hoping Afridi gets going. Though he hasn’t had a great tournament with the bat — he aggregates only 91 — Afridi has made up for it with the ball, topping the bowling charts with 12 victims. With the bat, he’s due for a big one — India would hope it doesn’t come on Monday.