Close contest on cards today

Aug 20, 2012, 06:45 IST | Gaurav Joshi

On the eve of high-octane India-Pakistan quarter-final clash in the ICC U-19 World Cup, the two arch-rivals prepared in their own styles.

While both teams worked on their batting and bowling, the Indians stressed on fielding too. The players were made to go through several drills by fielding coach R Sridhar here yesterday.

Unmukt Chand
India U-19 captain Unmukt Chand. Pic/Getty Images

“We always focus on fielding because saving an extra run on the field can sometimes determine the outcome of the match,” Sridhar said after putting the boys through a tough endurance session. Sridhar’s statement seems to be a wise one considering their previous couple of face-offs in the Asia Cup. After having lost in the preliminary round, Indians played out a thrilling tie in the final to share the honours just a few months back. But both the matches were high-scoring and were played on placid tracks, while the clash here promises to be a bowlers’ affair today.

“I think it will favour the Pakistan bowlers more than the Indians. It will be a hard surface and the new-ball bowlers will get some assistance. But if the sun is out tomorrow it might just give an opportunity to the spinners,” said the groundsman at Tony Ireland Stadium. But previous experience of playing in this ground during the quadrangular series in April will be an advantage for India.

On whether India would be in an advantageous position, skipper Unmukt Chand said: “it depends on what kind of wicket we will get tomorrow. If it is similar to the West Indies match, we know how it will behave and it can benefit us in terms of tactics we use.” Chand is yet to make a big score in this tournament and his battle with the Pakistani pacers, Zia-ul Haq and Eshan Adil could well decide the outcome of this match. India will also need to put up a better batting display. A good opening partnership is what India must be desperately looking for. While India’s bowling looked impressive in the tournament, early breakthroughs from Babar Azam and Sami Aslam can ensure they can attack the fragile Pakistan middle-order.  

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