India and Pakistan once again square off in the 2023 International Cricket World Cup at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
Both teams entered Saturday’s game having won their first two games in the 50-over exhibition.
When Pakistan faced an Indian team egged on by over a hundred thousand fans, they could be forgiven for feeling like gladiators being thrown into the Colosseum, but captain Babar Azam Think this game is their chance to end their bad luck against their old rivals.
Here’s everything you need to know about the game:
who, when, where
India take on Pakistan on Saturday at 2pm (08:30GMT) at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
head to head
In one-day internationals, Pakistan’s record of 73 wins defeated India’s record of 56.
When it comes to the history of the Cricket World Cup, the scales have tilted heavily in favor of India. Pakistan have never defeated India in their seven encounters at the ICC ODI World Cup.
“This is a big game”
India skipper Rohit Sharma, who often talks about shutting out outside noise during a big match, said the team’s focus remains on playing against quality opponents rather than on record.
“Yes, it’s a big game. But the important thing for us is that tomorrow we play against a quality opponent,” he said on Friday.
Rohit said his team were neither favorites nor underdogs but they had “motivation” after two wins.
“We have to play good cricket on that day to win the game and that’s what we’re going to focus on.”
— BCCI (@BCCI) October 13, 2023
“Records are meant to be broken.”
Defiant Pakistan captain Babar Azam declared before the match that “records are meant to be broken”.
“I don’t focus on the past. Let’s focus on what’s coming because we know records are destined to be broken.”
Like India, Pakistan has also registered two wins in two games at the World Cup after defeating Netherlands and Sri Lanka.
Azam said he had told his players that the match at the 132,000-capacity Ahmedabad Stadium was a “golden opportunity” to write their names into World Cup folklore.
“The India-Pakistan game is a big game with high intensity. I have told (the players) that this is the best opportunity to perform. It is a big stadium that can accommodate a lot of fans. It is a perfect opportunity for us to perform in front of our fans. Opportunity.”
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) October 13, 2023
Opener Shubman Gill, who missed the Australia and Afghanistan matches due to dengue fever, has rejoined the team in Ahmedabad and according to his captain, Gill is “99 per cent fit to play”.
India will also consider bringing back Ravichandran Ashwin, who is not good at spin.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s batting variation worked wonders against Sri Lanka, with Abdullah Shafiq hitting a fine century on his World Cup debut.
It would leave the out-of-form Fakhar Zaman on the bench, at least in the short term, while also providing space for heavy reliance on captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan (Mohammed Rizwan)’s batting line-up adds strength.
Rohit vs Shaheen: Rohit has been struggling with Shaheen Shah Afridi’s left-arm pace in a showdown at the start of the 2021 T20 World Cup when Shaheen relied on his pace in the first over in Dubai and swinging to trap the heavier Rohit lbw.
But when the rivals met in Colombo, Rohit was ready and despite hitting a six in the first round, he remained wary of fast games.
Kohli vs Rauf: The stakes were high in a challenging chase between Virat Kohli and Haris Rauf at last year’s T20 World Cup in Melbourne, but Kohli encouraged Brought up courage and smashed Haris Rauf with two sixes to break the team in a crowded MCG.
Kohli later said the six-a-side was “instinct” but it soon led to a battle with Pakistan.
Babar vs Bumrah: Jasprit Bumrah got a taste of what Pakistan captain can do in the last T20 World Cup when Babar easily handled an Indian attack that included yorker king Bumrah.
But Bumrah bowled Babar a couple of times in Colombo before Hardik Pandya picked up the precious wicket.
Tickets for the game were reportedly sold out within an hour of going on sale a few weeks ago. Organizers released an additional 14,000 tickets last week, but fans complained they disappeared within minutes.
Crowds are expected at the cauldron, named after the Indian prime minister.
Ahmedabad is getting crowded
Tens of thousands of ticket holders came to the western Indian city from around the world, with some even staying overnight at local hospitals, a cheaper option than hotels.
Local hospitals are experiencing a sudden influx of patients with appointments scheduled to stay overnight during the most-anticipated World Cup match.
Several doctors told local media that snapping up medical check-up packages is a clever way to find affordable accommodation, as hotel costs have soared up to 20 times before the game.
“We have come across situations where some people who came to watch the India-Pakistan match also booked health check-ups and were hospitalized,” said Tushar Patel, president of the Ahmedabad Medical Association.
Cricket fans were left baffled last week when the match was played without a colorful opening ceremony.
However, in an equally surprising move, Indian cricket officials announced a star-studded show ahead of Saturday’s match.
This leaves fans wondering why mid-tournament games are more important than the opener.
The World Cup is more than just an India-Pakistan match
That’s why it’s called the World Cup
So there is no opening ceremony for the first game, but here we are doing a technical song and dance for the league
I mean, seriously now…! ! ! https://t.co/pjiu1nVn5J
— atul kasbekar (@atulkasbekar) October 13, 2023