Asia Cup: Shreyas, Bumrah back as India win toss, elect to bat first against Pakistan

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Pallekele, Sep 02, 2023, IANS

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Pallekele, Sep 2 (IANS) Shreyas Iyer and Jasprit Bumrah made a return to India’s playing eleven in ODIs as captain Rohit Sharma has won the toss and elected to bat first against arch-rivals Pakistan in their first Group A match of Asia Cup at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on Saturday.

In the run-up to the highly-anticipated clash, rain loomed as a large threat. Ahead of the toss, slight drizzle meant the ground was covered. But 13 minutes ahead of the toss, rain stopped and covers were taken off.

India have a 7-5 edge over Pakistan in Asia Cup head-to-head record. Saturday’s meeting is also the first clash between India and Pakistan since last facing off in the 2019 Men’s ODI World Cup league stage in Manchester.

Iyer and Bumrah make their return to the Indian team in 50-over format after recovering from back injuries, with the latter playing in two T20Is against Ireland last month. With KL Rahul unavailable, Ishan Kishan has been slotted in at number three while Virat Kohli is placed at number four.

On the bowling front, Shardul Thakur has been picked ahead of Mohammed Shami, owing to him providing a batting option and being second all-rounder alongside Hardik Pandya. Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav will be the two spinners.

“There is a bit of weather around but we cannot think about it too much. Embrace the challenge, embrace the situation. We had a six-day camp in Bangalore where we worked on our skills. The Asia Cup is a quality tournament with quality teams. At the end of the day, we need to think what we can do here,” said Rohit.

Pakistan had announced an unchanged playing eleven on the eve of the highly-anticipated clash, with captain Babar Azam admitting that batting first was also in his thoughts. “We have played a lot of cricket here in the last one and a half month, so we know the conditions.”

“Top teams are playing so Asia Cup is good. We’ll try to do our best. Performing well always gives you confidence, we’ll try to capitalize. It’s a high intensity match, we’ll try to be calm and composed.”

Playing XIs

India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah

Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Agha Salman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf

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