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ICC ODI World Cup 2023: From Virat & Haris to Shaheen & Rohit – Five player battles to look out in today’s IND vs PAK clash

The India vs. Pakistan match on Saturday is the most significant event in the 2023 ODI World Cup, highlighted by some starry player battles.

IND vs PAK: As we approach the 10-day mark of the 2023 ODI World Cup in India, we’ve already witnessed some exhilarating cricket, both with bat and ball. However, this Saturday, the intensity will reach its peak as India and Pakistan clash at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, in front of a full-capacity crowd, making it the most significant match of the tournament for both teams.

Five players to look out for during IND vs PAK

1. Haris Rauf vs Virat Kohli

One highly anticipated showdown on Saturday will be the clash between Rauf and Kohli, nearly a year after Kohli hit two crucial sixes against Rauf in the T20 World Cup match in Melbourne, securing an exciting victory for the Indian team. Kohli enters this match with back-to-back fifties against Australia and Afghanistan, making it a significant challenge for Rauf to dismiss the right-handed batsman early on Saturday.

2. Jadeja vs Rizwan

Usually, this matchup would tilt in favor of Jadeja rather than Rizwan, but on Saturday, the latter enters the game with newfound confidence after scoring an unbeaten 131 off 121 balls, aiding Pakistan in chasing down 345 runs and setting a record for the highest successful chase in an ODI World Cup match. However, what boosts Jadeja’s spirits is his ability to exploit turning pitches effectively, as demonstrated by his skillful deliveries, such as the one to dismiss Steve Smith in Chennai last Sunday. He aims to repeat this success by delivering a similar ball to dismiss Rizwan on Saturday.

3. Hardik Pandya vs Shadab Khan

A rivalry that commenced during the 2017 Champions Trophy final, marked by Pandya’s powerful sixes against Khan at The Oval, will add another chapter this Saturday at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. In a previous encounter during the Asia Cup Group Stage, Pandya adopted a more calculated approach against the leg spinner, focusing on singles when India faced early challenges. Khan’s strategy against Pandya on Saturday will be intriguing, especially given the venue’s boundary dimensions, setting the stage for an enticing battle in the middle overs.

4. Rohit Sharma vs Shaheen Afridi

Historically, early matchups have often laid the groundwork for exciting India vs. Pakistan encounters. One eagerly anticipated battle on Saturday will feature Shaheen Shah Afridi and Rohit Sharma. Although the right-hander has faced challenges from left-arm pacers in the past, he enters the game with confidence, having recently notched his 31st ODI century against Afghanistan in New Delhi. Babar Azam and his team will rely on Afridi to dismiss Sharma early on Saturday, providing them with a crucial advantage in the innings.

5. Bumrah vs Abdullah

While many anticipated a Bumrah vs. Babar Azam showdown before the tournament, Bumrah’s early overs on Saturday will pose a challenge to an unexpected standout among Pakistan’s batters, Abdullah Shafique. Shafique wasn’t initially part of Pakistan’s plans during the Asia Cup in September, but with other batters like Fakhar Zaman struggling, the Men in Green have turned to him for the ODI World Cup.

In his first match this Tuesday, Shafique showcased his capabilities with a 113-ball 113 during Pakistan’s successful chase of 345 runs against Sri Lanka, boosting the team’s spirits. If Shafique aims to replicate this performance on Saturday, he must navigate the opening spell delivered by one of the world’s best pacers, Jasprit Bumrah, known for his ability to secure early breakthroughs for India in the tournament, making this matchup highly significant.

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