• Wednesday, July 24, 2024

CRICKET

India opt to bowl against Pakistan in key World Cup clash

Opening batsman Shubman Gill returns to the team

General view of India fans in the stands before the match REUTERS/Amit Dave

By: Pramod Thomas

INDIA skipper Rohit Sharma on Saturday (14) won the toss and elected to bowl first against Pakistan in a blockbuster World Cup match expected to be attended by 120,000 fans.

Opening batsman Shubman Gill returns to the team and takes the place of Ishan Kishan after recovering from dengue fever and missing the first two matches.

“Cannot get bigger than this, fantastic atmosphere,” Rohit said at the toss as the home crowd roared.

“Sure lot of us are going to experience something really extraordinary.”

Favourites India come into the match unbeaten with victories over five-time winners Australia and Afghanistan.

Pakistan, who also won their two matches against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka, come in unchanged from their previous win.

Against Sri Lanka, they chased down a World Cup record of 345 in Hyderabad.

Skipper Babar Azam said he would have also fielded first had he won the toss.

“We also wanted to bowl first,” he said. “We have had good two wins, momentum and confidence is high. Jam-packed stadium, we will enjoy it.”

The world’s biggest cricket stadium was a sea of blue due to a largely Indian presence after Pakistan fans from across the boder were unable to secure visas.

Teams

India: Rohit Sharma (capt), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj

Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf

Umpires: Marais Erasmus (RSA), Richard Illingworth (ENG)

TV Umpire: Richard Kettleborough (ENG)

Match Referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)

(AFP)

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