India will clash with Pakistan in the first game of Group A in the Asia Cup 2022.
The match will be held on August 28 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
If both the teams qualify from their group, they will again face each other in the Super 4 stage, and possibly a third time in the final.
Head to Head history
India are the defending champions and have won the Asia Cup a record seven times.
They will be looking to bag their third consecutive Asia cup triumph.
Pakistan has won the Asia Cup twice. They last won it in 2012 when the tournament was held in Bangladesh.
The two nations have played each other on 14 occasions in the competition and India has won 8 of them, while Pakistan won 5 times.
One game had no result.
If we consider only T20 games, India has won seven and lost two out of nine games played.
Current T20 form
India are enjoying a spectacular run of form.
They have played 20 T20I matches in 2022 alone, winning 16.
They thrashed West Indies (3-0) and Sri Lanka (3-0) and drew with South Africa (2-2).
Then they won against Ireland (2-0), England (2-1), and West Indies (4-1).
Pakistan meanwhile has only played 7 T20Is since the T20 World Cup last year.
They beat Bangladesh (3-0) and West Indies (3-0) in 2021. However, they lost to Australia this year.
Overall team news
India has a great mix of youth and experience which can trump any team in the world.
India will be strengthened by the return of Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja.
Virat Kohli has been the most successful batsman for India in the Asia cup in recent years and will want to build on that.
The trio of big hitting all-rounders – Hooda, Pandya, Jadeja – will add a lot of depth to the Indian side.
The only negative is – the team has played too much cricket and that too, with different squads, under different captains.
Too much chopping and changing can upset the rhythm sometimes.
On the other hand, Pakistan has had a more relaxed cricket calendar and this will help them stay fresh for a major tournament.
Captain Babar Azam is the player in form along with Mohammad Rizwan.
They are the world’s first and third ranked T20 batters in the world respectively.
The absence of Shaheen Afridi is a big blow though Mohammad Hasnain is a capable replacement.
The one department where India has a clear superiority is spin bowling.
The pitch in Dubai is expected to assist spinners.
While Pakistan has competent spinners in Usman Qadir and left-armer Mohammad Nawaz, India’s spin attack looks more potent with the likes of Chahal, Axar Patel, Bishnoi, Kuldeep Yadav and Ashwin.
India Likely 11
Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (VC), Suryakumar Yadav, Virat Kohli, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh
Pakistan Likely 11
Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan (VC), Hasan Ali, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf
Key player for India
Hardik Pandya is in sensational form with with 281 runs and 8 wickets in his last 13 games.
The resurgence began with IPL 2022, where Pandya led Gujarat Titans to the title in their debut season.
He is expected to be a game-changer for India, with bat and ball.
Key player for Pakistan
Mohammad Rizwan has been in sublime form for Pakistan in 2022.
In the T20Is, the wicket-keeper batter has scored a mind-boggling 1349 runs in just 27 innings.
With an average of 71.00 and a strike rate of 134.63, Rizwan is the most dangerous batter in the Pakistan side.
Though it will be a tough contest, India has a much better side and will emerge winners.