Asia Cup 2018: India vs Pakistan 5th ODI — Rohit Sharma’s India survived a scare last night against a gritty and resolved Hong Kong and eventually registered a 26-run win in their opening encounter of the Asia Cup 2018. But what awaits them now is Pakistan, the arch-rivals. The stakes would be much higher in what is a much-anticipated, high-octance clash. The match is also bound to push the players to their limit and test their fitness. Critics, on the other hand, do not endorse the idea of two 50-over matches in 48 hours.

Here are the players who could be game-changers against Pakistan:

1. Khaleel Ahmed:
This 20-years old had a fairytale debut for India as he scalped three wickets, including two crucial ones, when it seemed it was going to be a heart-break opening for the Indians in the Asia Cup 2018. He conceded 48 runs in his 10 overs. Since we know the fact that having a left-armer in the side makes a huge difference, so he can be a game-changer against Pakistan as India’s bowling line-up didn’t had any left-armer for a long time.  And, Khaleel is the one who seems to be filling the gap of missing a left-armer in the pace-lineup for India.


2. Ambati Rayudu:
Despite being one of the top run-scorers in IPL 2018, Rayadu was dropped from the limited-overs squad against England after failing the yo-yo test. He made the most out of his opportunity in the opening game in Dubai as he scored 60 runs off 70 balls. He stood for 116 runs with Shikhar Dhawan and put India into a comfortable position. His absence was felt during the tour of England in the middle-order and as a result, India lost by 2-1 in the three-match ODI series. So, his presence in the team can be a real boost against Pakistan as well as in the whole campaign of the Asia Cup.

3.  Shikhar Dhawan:
After having a regretful Test series against England, Dhawan is back in his memento by notching a fantastic knock of 127 runs off 120 balls, which included 15 fours and 2 sixes. He is already a game-changer in the sub-continent. So, he will be a matter of concern for Pakistan bowlers.

4. Spin-duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav:
This duo has totally replaced the place of the previous spin combine of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja from the Indian line-up for limited overs cricket. They had a pretty good tour of UK,  earlier this year.  Though India lost the ODI series, Chahal and Kuldeep were impactful throughout the tour. Last night,  together they took five wickets out eight of the Hong Kong innings. They both just swung the match in India’s corner. So, they both can definately produce a trouble for the Pakistani Batsmen.

5. Jasprit Bumrah:
It was evident on the England Tour that missing Jasprit Bumrah from the playing XI can even cost you a series. He is the backbone of the Indian bowling-lineup, be it giving early breakthroughs or bowling at the death. India won the last match by a whisker against Hong Kong. However, it could have cost a heartbreak had the team lost the match against the minnows. So, Indian management should learn from the past that without Bumrah, the bowling-lineup is not even able to stand properly.

This match will decide that which team will top the table of the Group Stage.

And here are squads of both the teams:

Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed(w/c), Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Usman Khan, Shan Masood, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Nawaz, Junaid Khan, Shaheen Afridi

India: Rohit Sharma(c), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni(w), Kedar Jadhav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, K Khaleel Ahmed, Yuzvendra Chahal, Lokesh Rahul, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah