India v Pakistan: Five World Cup talking points
Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) –
India and Pakistan will go head to head in a World Cup blockbuster at Old Trafford on Sunday.
AFP Sport picks five talking points ahead of the match.
Ending the World Cup woe
Pakistan have the better of the overall head-to-head record between the two countries, winning 73 of the 131 one-day internationals contested between the sides, to India's 54, but at the World Cup it is a different story.
India have come out on top in all six meetings at the global showpiece, starting with a 43-run triumph back in 1992 and most recently securing a 76-run victory in 2015.
It is quite a statistical hoodoo for Pakistan to overcome but they can take heart from the last game the teams played in England -- Fakhar Zaman's 114 and Mohammad Amir's 3-16 helping them to a huge 180-run win in the Champions Trophy final at the Oval almost two years ago to the day.
Amir looked like he might miss out on Pakistan's World Cup squad but the left-arm seamer has shone at the tournament.
Three wickets against West Indies, two against England and brilliant figures of 5-30 against Australia have put him among the tournament's leading wicket-takers.
The 27-year-old's battle against the Indian top order could prove decisive.
With KL Rahul expected to open the batting for India in the absence of the injured Shikhar Dhawan, more pressure could fall on the shoulders of Virat Kohli at three.
But the Indian skipper seems impervious and has carried the team on his back plenty of times during his 11-year international career.
Kohli, ranked the number-one batsman in ODIs, demonstrated his form with a classy knock of 82 against Australia and has a healthy average of 45.90, with two tons and a half-century, in his 12 ODIs against Pakistan.
Babar looking to build
He is still only 24 years old but Pakistan hope that in the long-term, Babar Azam can be their answer to Kohli.
That is a huge ask for any young player but the classy right-hander is already ranked as the number one batsman in international Twenty20 cricket.
Babar averages more than 50 in 67 ODIs with nine centuries and his numbers compare favourably with Kohli's at a similar stage in the Indian's career.
It is what Kohli did next that puts him among the all-time greats but Babar, who is yet to reach 50 in four matches against India, could certainly take another step down that path by leading Pakistan to victory on Sunday.
Bumrah bringing his best
As the number one bowler in the ODI rankings, Jasprit Bumrah provides India with a consistently potent weapon.
But he will have something to prove on Sunday, having taken just four wickets in four matches against Pakistan.
An average of 35.75 against Pakistan is not in the same league as his stellar mark of 21.98 during his ODI career as a whole.
But the 25-year-old has already demonstrated his quality during this World Cup, with five wickets so far.
? 2019 AFP