Indian commentator, Aakash Chopra feels India’s biggest challenge in the Asia Cup 2023 Super Four clash against Pakistan will be how to overcome the threat of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah, and Haris Rauf. Both teams will face each other on Sunday, September 10 at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. While the Greens are set to face Bangladesh in their opening Super Four match after a seven-wicket win at home, Rohit Sharma and Co. will be playing their first match of the second phase of the tournament.
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Chopra said that Pakistan’s fast bowling trio will pose a big challenge to India on the relatively bowler-friendly Colombo track. He said:
“The Premadasa Stadium generally has a decent pitch. You will get a slightly sticky pitch everywhere here, you don’t get very flat pitches, unlike the ones you get at times in India, and Lahore, Multan and Karachi.”
The former Indian opener added:
“There is something in it for the bowlers which makes it very interesting because the Indian team’s biggest challenge will be – how will they overcome the threat of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf? This question is looming large once again.”
In the Group A encounter between the two teams, the Men in Blue were reduced to 66/4. However, Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya’s century partnership helped them reach a total of 266 runs, but rain did not give Babar Azam and Co. a chance to start the run chase.
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“It’s a Real Threat” – Aakash Chopra On Pakistan Pacers Against India’s Top Order
Noting that Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill scored unbeaten half-centuries in India’s last game against Nepal, Aakash Chopra pointed out that Pakistan’s pace trio would present a different challenge. He elaborated:
“Of course, Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill scored runs in the last match, and Virat Kohli didn’t get to bat, but when you will once again have Shaheen Shah Afridi, who dismissed Litton Das with a steeply climbing ball on a road-like pitch in Lahore, or Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf in front of you, it is a genuine threat.”:
The cricketer-turned-commentator believes that India can take the lead if they do not lose too many wickets against the opening spell of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah, and Haris Rauf. They said:
“There will be pressure on you for sure because of that. If India win the first 10 overs, if you lose just one wicket or don’t lose a wicket till the 13th over or so, then India will be in the ascendancy.”
Aakash Chopra believes that if they have wickets left, the seven-time champions can neutralize Pakistan’s fourth and fifth bowlers and even marginalize them a bit. He said that if a partnership develops, it can go far, as Babar Azam does not bring his fast bowlers back intermittently in the middle overs.