The result of the India-Pakistan Champions Trophy clash that takes place here today will do nothing to alter the fortunes of the two teams in the competition. But can an Indo-Pak cricket match be of only academic interest to their fans? Surely not.
That’s why even though India have advanced to the semi-final and their rivals have crashed out of the tournament, there’s little to take away from the buzz that today’s fixture is generating. However, for all those eager fans out there, here’s a dampener; the game could be affected by rain. The dry spell that England witnessed since the start of the tournament came to a halt a couple of days ago, and it has been raining sporadically.
With showers forecast for today, the toss could play a vital role, with a possibility that the Duckworth-Lewis method could be brought into the equation.
The pitch meanwhile, has been under wraps for the past few days, but the groundsmen believe it is still a relatively dry surface.
Experts are surprised at the support India have got on these pitches so far, but the groundsmen here state that they are under no instructions to prepare tracks conducive to India’s strengths.
“Since it’s early summer, everyone feel the wickets will be green, but the Champions Trophy is an ODI tournament and the pitches need to favour batsmen,” a groundsman told MiD DAY on condition of anonymity.
As to why the pitches have been so sub-continent like, he went on to explain, “Firstly, we have been restricted to four pitches in the centre of the square since the television cameras are in the centre.
“Secondly, on match days the weather has been warm, so this has added to the natural wear and tear. Coming into this weekend, it is too much of a risk to water the pitches with such inclement weather around. There is a possibility that the pitch could remain damp and we certainly don’t want a 120 all-out match.”
This means India will once again get to play on a surface of their liking and that would make it very difficult for the Pakistani bowlers to force a result in their favour.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq though sounded positive about his team’s chances, saying: “We were in India six months ago and all our bowlers bowled effectively. It is at the back of their mind, so our bowlers are confident”.
Neither Indian skipper MS Dhoni, nor his Pakistani counterpart Misbah could get a look at the pitch as it kept raining yesterday. Asked how the shortened game affects players’ mindset, Dhoni said: “If it ends up being a 20 over game, I think it is a disadvantage to the team batting first, while if we get started and end up with 35 overs, I think it is a disadvantage to the team batting second”.