India vs Pakistan - ICC Champions Trophy: Strengths and weaknesses of IND-PAK
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India vs Pakistan - ICC Champions Trophy: Strengths and weaknesses of IND-PAK

India will look to start their 2017 ICC Champions Trophy campaign on a high when they take on arch-rivals Pakistan in a Group B encounter at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground here on Sunday

icc champions trophy 2017 Updated: Jun 04, 2017 14:22 IST
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Champions Trophy 2017,ICC Champions Trophy,India vs Pakistan
India will start their ICC Champions Trophy 2017 campaign with a match against Pakistan.(Getty Images)

With history at ICC events on their side, India looks strong enough to beat Pakistan in their Champions Trophy 2017 clash. Here’s a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the two sides ahead of the much-awaited encounter at Edgbaston on Sunday. (India vs Pakistan: Live updates) (ICC Champions Trophy 2017: IND vs PAK Live scorecard)

India Strengths

Mohammed Shami is one of India’s key pacers going into ICC Champions Trophy 2017 clash against Pakistan. (NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Plenty of options in pace bowling

Once considered India’s Achilles heel, pace bowling is now India’s prime weapon. Umesh, Bhuvneshwar, Shami, Bumrah and Pandya possess the traits necessary for a fast bowler. With conditions in England favourable to fast bowling, India’s line-up is a huge asset.

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Depth in all departments

The core of the current team has played in all ICC tournaments since 2013. Kohli, Rohit , Dhawan, Dhoni, Umesh, Bhuvneshwar, Jadeja and Ashwin make up a solid bunch of experienced players.

Fielding: India’s big improvement

The major improvement for India since the captaincy of Dhoni and continuing with Kohli has been in fielding. India’s fielding makes the team very strong in the clash against Pakistan.

India weaknesses

Ajinkya Rahane has been in inconsistent form of late. (HT Photo)

Ajinkya Rahane’s inconsistency

If there is weak link in the Indian batting, then it is the inconsistency of Ajinkya Rahane. Even in the warm-up games, Rahane struggled and his form will be a prime concern.

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Nerves for captain Kohli

Virat Kohli has plenty of captaincy experience. However, this will be the first time he will lead India in an ICC event. The dynamics of an ICC event are different from a bilateral series. Thus, the Champions Trophy will be uncharted territory for Kohli.

Lack of practice for Ashwin

R Ashwin missed two months of the IPL due to sports hernia. On his return, he has bowled only seven overs combined in two warm-up games. The lack of overs and match practice could be a concern for Ashwin, but his experience might help him tide over this.

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Pakistan strengths

Mohammad Amir and CO. will be a big challenge for India. (Getty Images)

Brilliant pace attack

The likes of Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan and Hasan Ali make a formiable bowling line-up. Along with the pace bowlers, there is depth in spin bowling as well, with the likes of Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan.

Exciting young batting line-up

In the warm-up game against Bangladesh, Fahim Ashraf blasted 64 off 30 balls to help Pakistan chase down 341. Ashraf and Babar Azam, who became the fastest to score 1000 runs, give Pakistan hope in their batting.

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Proactive captain

Ever since Sarfraz Ahmed took over the captaincy of the limited overs side, Pakistan have tasted success in ODIs, winning a series in the West Indies. The results of the recent tour have put Pakistan in a good frame of mind and they will be charged up against India.

Pakistan weaknesses

Poor fielding

Think of dropped catches and misfields, the first thing that crops up in your mind is Pakistan. The team is not known for sharp fielding and in a pressure situation of an ICC event, this will be a major problem.

Sarfraz Ahmed is the captain of the Pakistan Cricket Team. (Getty Images)

Inconsistency in batting

Pakistan’s batting at best can be described as mercurial. The likes of Ahmad Shahzad, Shoaib Malik and Sarfraz Ahmed all are good batsmen but lack consistency. In past events, their batting has come undone and it will be tested yet again against a disciplined bowling line-up.

Lack of big game experience

Sarfraz Ahmed will be leading Pakistan for the first time in an ICC event. Most of the team members have not played in a tournament of such magnitude, which could prove to be a stumbling block.

First Published: Jun 04, 2017 09:12 IST