Former Indian batter Mohammad Kaif said that the initial overs of the Indian batting innings could decide the outcome of their all-important clash against Pakistan in Pallekele on Saturday, September 2. However, Pakistan beat Nepal by a huge 238 runs in their Asia Cup opener, while Team India will play their first match of the tournament against their arch-rivals. Notably, Team India have the better hand, with a 7-5 edge in the ODI Asia Cups.
Speaking to Disney+Hotstar, Kaif said, “Whenever India has lost it was in the first few overs after KL Rahul or Rohit Sharma got out. But I believe if they survive the 3rd or 4th over without losing a wicket, then the match is going to change. After that, you have a strong India team with Shreyas Iyer, Hardik Pandya, and Ravindra Jadeja, who can finish well. The main role is the 3 overs as the ball swings more, the team needs to tackle that. That’s their big challenge for the openers and Virat Kohli.”
However, Mohammad Kaif warned Team India of the threat posed by talented Pakistan pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi. He has a great ODI record, with 78 wickets in 40 games at an average of 23.08 as well.
“You can practice all you want but on the day of the match, that experience of seeing Shaheen Afridi take his ball, do his swing, and his speed, cannot be recreated in practice. It is good to practice, of course, but that same impression cannot be made. You still need to make the effort, and try to figure out the technique but Shaheen Afridi throwing the ball, walking or running the distance cannot be done at practice,” he stated.
Mohammad Kaif also opened up on the Virat Kohli and Babar Azam rivalry and who will win the battle also.
“Virat Kohli is an in-form batsman and the two great batsmen will be seen facing each other. It is a best vs best where 57 is the batting average of Virat Kohli, and 59 is of Babar Azam. Oh god! Babar Azam has surpassed Kohli, so this is going to be a big match on September 2.”If we analyze strike rates, there is 94 of Virat and 89 of Babar. In terms of centuries, as far as I know, Virat has 46 to his name and Babar has 19. However, Babar has played fewer matches and Virat has played more, but he has 46 centuries there,” concluded Mohammad Kaif.