Home > Cricket > Asia Cup 2004 > Column > Dean Jones
India will have to weather fast-bowling storm
July 25, 2004
What a mouth-watering match we will have on our hands today! Pakistan have to win to stay in the tournament and India need a win here to go to the final. India will be so pleased that they have the chance to be the ones to deliver the killer blow to Pakistan.
This match is evenly poised where both teams are not travelling that well. Both teams, I feel, are still rusty in the batting department. Pakistan have often in the past bounced back after a thrashing and Bob Woolmer will have to go deep into his bag of tricks to get Pakistan up for this match.
Let us look at the SWAT analysis for both teams.
STRENGTHS: It was fantastic to see both Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar finally get some runs. Sachin is still not in the groove yet. But don't worry, Indian fans, this match will get his blood flowing. He loves playing against Pakistan.
Ganguly will have to be a bit wary that the Pakistani bowlers will be going after his throat. It is an old West Indian tactic. Go hard after the skipper and the rest will fall!
Irfan Pathan is really bowling well, as did Harbhajan Singh. Will India drop Balaji and play two spinners? I think they should.
WEAKNESSES: Balaji is struggling with his action at the moment. He is splaying his feet on his delivery stride and that causes him to bowl too many wides down the legside. Some members of the team have not been that well of late, so hopefully everyone will be in good health for today's clash.
TACTICS: India must go after Yousuf Youhana. When Youhana makes more than 40, Pakistan win 75 per cent of the time. The Pakistani bowlers were in good form against Sri Lanka and Virender Sehwag and Tendulkar will have to be careful of the new ball. Keep Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammed Sami quiet, then India will win.
STRENGTHS: In my opinion, Pakistan has the best bowling team in the competition. Inzamam-ul-Haq should stay positive and have more attacking fields and back his bowlers. After a poor loss, like the one the other day to Sri Lanka, Pakistan always bounce back. This is a very good trait for any team.
WEAKNESSES: The Pakistani batting effort the other day was disgraceful. Youhana should be batting at number 3 and Inzamam at number 4. Why does the skipper bat so low? He has a very good pinch-hitter in Abdur Razzaq down the order, so he has to bat higher for me and not look for the easy runs down the order. If the skipper does not want to do the hard work, then how can he expect his teammates to do the same?
TACTICS: Pakistan should go hard at Sehwag, Tendulkar, and Ganguly. When Sehwag makes more than 40, India win 80 per cent of the time. If I were the Pakistani captain, I would bat first because the night conditions suit the strong Pakistani bowling unit.
It is hard to pick a winner here. Pakistan are so unpredictable and India are far from the good form they have shown in the past. Sri Lanka are white hot favourites at the moment and they love playing at the Premadasa Stadium where they have a fantastic 67 per cent win rate.
If Sehwag gets runs, I think India will win. What I know for sure is that this match is payback time for Pakistan. Psychologically, they need to beat India here or they will have a huge mental barrier every time they play them.
Strap your seat belts, folks! This game will be a no holds barred contest.
Previous column: Don't change the batting order!
Bob Woolmer's column: Pakistan face a herculean task