Pakistan captain Babar Azam began the Asia Cup with a blistering 151 runs against Nepal; but former India star Mohammad Kaif doesn’t believe Babar can replicate that against Team India.
What did Kaif say?
Kaif believes that Babar will have trouble against the Indian quicks, with the in-form Mohammad Shami and the returning Bumrah in particular having enough firepower to gun him down.
Shami has been in tremendous form throughout the year and Bumrah showed that he is returning to his devastating best after his return from injury against Ireland.
It is the presence of these two which makes Kaif confident that Babar will not be able to dominate like he did against an inexperienced Nepal bowling line-up.
“Mohammed Shami is a fantastic bowler, his form is also very good. And even in Bumrah’s absence, he managed the bowling very well. Even his form in the IPL was great. So he has a lot of talent. In my opinion, Babar Azam is going to have a lot of difficulty facing Mohammed Shami” Kaif told Star Sports.
Babar blasts Nepal
Earlier the Pakistan skipper Babar Azam smashed a brilliant 151 off just 128 balls to help his side post a mammoth 342 runs against Nepal. Then the bowlers, led by Shadab Khan who took 4 wickets, wrapped up Nepal for just 104 runs to secure a massive win.
This innings was a real statement of intent from Babar Azam who said before the start of the tournament that he wants to see his side and himself at the top of the ICC ODI rankings.
With Pakistan recently ascending to the number one spot, Babar will want to retain that by winning the Asia Cup and also retain his throne as the no.1 ODI batter in the world.
Shami believes India can go all the way
Despite a resurgent Pakistan’s recent form and home advantage, Mohammad Shami is confident of Team India's chances. He believes that the return of Bumrah and the form of the pace bowling trio can be the foundation of India’s success.
“I don't have any hesitancy to bowl with the new ball or the old ball. I don't have an ego like that. All three of us (Bumrah, Shami & Siraj) are bowling very well, so it depends on the management on who will play.
There is only one goal, to go and give our 100%, the result will come running to us if we give our 100%. So it is very important to focus and execute, it’s a very simple plan,” Shami said in an interview recently.
India vs Pakistan where and when?
India and Pakistan will face off in the all important Asia Cup clash on 2nd September in Pallekele. Pakistan has recent form on their side but India has the upper hand against their eternal rivals in the global events.