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LAHORE: Pakistan will face India in a thrilling ‘Group A’ encounter of the ICC T20 Asia Cup 2022 match at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium today.

If both the sides progress to the Super Four stage from Group A, which also includes Hong Kong, they will meet again on Sunday, 4 September, with one eye on the 11 September final. However, before reaching the final, they will have to overcome the challenges of the top-two sides from Group B, which comprise Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Prior to the tournament begins, both the sides have injury concerns. Pakistan are without Shaheen Shah Afridi, while there is a question mark on Mohammad Wasim Junior’s participation, whereas India are without Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel.

However, the absence of these players will not reduce the competitiveness between the two sides who will be aiming to make a winning start to the competition.

Asia Cup: Pakistan and India to clash in Dubai on August 28

Sunday’s match will also be the first time the two sides will meet following their clash in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 at the same venue when Pakistan won by 10 wickets.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam said, “I know there is tremendous excitement in both the countries but for us, it is just another game. Our preparations have been excellent and we will take the field oozing with confidence.

Our victory over India 11 months ago at the same venue is a good reference point, but that’s all. While we will continue to reflect on it positively, Sunday and any other matches down the line will be new fixtures that will be played in new condition. I have always believed you don’t need any additional motivation to play and perform for Pakistan. Representing your country at a global stage itself is a huge honour and pride, and the objective is always to make the country proud.”

“We have a squad full of quality cricketers and match-winners, who will step-up in the absence of Shaheen Shah Afridi and take additional responsibility during the tournament. In the 2021 T20 World Cup, we have already demonstrated we are not a one-man squad. In five league matches, we had five different player of the matches,” Babar said, adding: “I was actually touched by the way they met Shaheen Shah Afridi during Thursday’s training session and expressed their support to him. The visuals of the players interacting with each other were also heart warming and reflected the respect and friendship they enjoy. But on the match day, everything will be kept aside and players from either side will come hard at each other in an effort to overpower the other.”

On a head to head, India lead Pakistan 7-2. However, in the past 12 months, India have played 29 matches and won 22, while Pakistan have played 13 matches and lost two. This will be the 15th edition of the Asia Cup since its inception in 1984, but only the second time it will be played on a T20 format.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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