India vs Pakistan clashes are always a special one and the contest between the two neighbouring sides, who have not played bilateral series of late for political reasons, have become even more significant.
With India and Pakistan set to face one another at least twice in the upcoming Asia Cup (Feb.27) in Bangladesh and World T20 (March 19) in India, cricket fans are eagerly awaiting the matches. The Asia Cup, which is also set to be played in the T20 format, makes matters even more interesting as fans can witnesses a flurry of boundaries with the number of quality batsmen in both the sides.
If India has Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni in the batting front, Pakistan has some good batsmen in Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal and Sarfaraz Ahmed.
Here is a comparison of the two teams' batting lineups as we prepare for an India vs Pakistan clash on Saturday week.
Rohit Sharma vs Mohammad Hafeez: India and Pakistan are going to depend on their respective opening batsmen -- Rohit and Hafeez -- to come up with a good start. Rohit has been in incredible form of late, and he is known for his effortless batting and his big shots against the seamers as well as the spinners.
However, Rohit will be keen to improve his T20 record against Pakistan. He has scored 60 runs in five matches. The Pakistan opener, on the other hand, has a decent record against India in the shortest format, scoring 147 runs in five matches. Hafeez may not be known for his big-hitting, but he is expected to provide a solid platform for the rest of the batsmen to follow in the middle order.
Virat Kohli vs Shoaib Malik: Kohli and Malik have been involved with their respective sides for quite some time, so they know what to expect in an India vs Pakistan clash. With an everage of 75 against Pakistan, Kohli, who is also in some brilliant form, will play a huge role. Malik will need to bring all his experience into play. The Pakistan batsmen is the senior-most batsman in the batting lineup.
Suresh Raina vs Umar Akmal: Raina and Akmal are going to hold the key in the middle order for India and Pakistan respectively. They are good players of both spin and pacers, which is essential when one is expected to score runs at a brisk rate. Apart from their good-hitting ability, they can change gears and play as per the situation demands, which makes them an important. With a career strike rate of 135 and 124, Raina and Akmal are going to be play a huge role in the mega clash in the Asia Cup.
MS Dhoni vs Sarfaraz Ahmed: Apart from the wicket-keeping role, Dhoni and Sarfaraz have a bigger responsibility with the willow in their hand. Dhoni has a poor record in the T20 format against Pakistan, averaging just 18.25, and he will be keen to correct that if he gets a chance to bat in the upcoming matches.
Dhoni primarily comes in to bat at number six, but also promotes himself to number four/five if there is a need to score runs at a brisk rate. Sarfaraz Ahmed will be eager to create an impression against India as he has never featured in an India vs Pakistan T20 match. However, he is one of the most exciting batsmen in Pakistan lineup.