India and Pakistan will once again lock horns in the ongoing edition of Asia Cup 2023 on Sunday, September 10.
The Super 4 fixture will also have a reserve day keeping in mind the inclement weather in Colombo.
The last time these two sides met, only 50 overs of the 1st innings were possible as the rain washed out the entirety of Pakistan's run-chase.
That said, we got plenty of action in whatever play that was possible.
Pakistan have already picked up a win in the Super 4 stage, and if they win on Sunday, then they will book their spot in the final. India, on the other hand, will be looking to get their maiden points in the 2nd round in order to give themselves the best possible chance to make it to the finals, considering the unpredictable weather in Colombo.
Here's a look at some of the talking points ahead of the IND vs PAK Super 4 clash:
1) Can the India top-3 counter the new threat of Pakistan seamers-led by Shaheen Afridi?
The previous fixture between India and Pakistan was yet another reminder about Shaheen Afridi's irresistible skills as a new-ball bowler, and the India top-order's issues against left-arm pace, especially in seaming conditions.
Rohit Sharma was completely undone via a masterful set-up from Shaheen, who got the ball to move away from the right-hander before bringing one back to breach the defense of the Indian captain.
Shubman Gill too looked all at sea against the moving ball against each of the Pakistani pacers, and was eventually got by Haris Rauf.
Virat Kohli, on the other hand, looked very rusty, and in a bid to get a feel of the ball on his bat, he ended up chopping it on his stumps.
With the conditions in Colombo set to be seamer-friendly again, the Indian top-3 will once again be faced with the challenge of countering the likes of Shaheen, Haris and Naseem Shah. Will they find an answer this time around?
2) India middle-order vs Pakistan spinners
While the Pakistani seamers dominated the proceedings against the Indian batsmen in the previous game, the same cannot be said about their spinners.
For a long time now, Pakistan's spin-bowling department has been their Achilles heel in this format, and this was on full show in the game against India as Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya blunted Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz with ease.
Shadab and Nawaz went on to concede 0/112 between them in 17 overs, which allowed India to storm back in the game.
In fact, Shadab was unable to pick wickets against Bangladesh as well, and Nawaz did not play. It will be interesting to see how their spinners counter the Indian middle-order this time around.
3) Bumrah & Siraj v Pakistan's top-3
Jasprit Bumrah has joined the Indian squad after having missed the previous game against Nepal due to personal reasons. The champion pacer will be itching to go against the Pakistani top-3-led by their skipper Babar Azam.
Bumrah does not have a memorable record against Pakistan in whatever outings he has had in the past 6 years. He will be looking to get one up on opener Fakhar Zaman after what happened during the 2017 Champions Trophy final.
Meanwhile, Mohammed Siraj, who featured in the last game against Nepal, will relish bowling against his favored match up, the two lefthanded openers in Fakhar and Imam.
Siraj v Babar will be yet another match-up to watch out for. Historically, Babar has faced issues against ¾ seam-up deliveries outside the off-stump against the likes of Olli Robinson. And Siraj too has troubled a lot of right-handers with the same variation.
That said, Siraj looked rusty in the previous match, and he and the Indian management will hope that he gets his radar on point from the word go.
4) Can Indian lower-order give them an impetus at the death?
Much has been talked about India having a long tail. And, while that is true to an extent, Jasprit Bumrah and Kuldeep Yadav showed against Pakistan in the previous game that they can indeed hold their own.
But, the major issue for India is the No.7 spot, and that is where Ravindra Jadeja comes into the picture. One of the major issues with Jadeja is that he struggles to bat with the tail.
Even in the last game against Pakistan, he looked extremely tentative against the likes of Shaheen, and was eventually dismissed for a 22-ball 14.
With Ishan Kishan performing at the No.5 spot in the last match, it's unlikely that he will be shifted to No.7 to handle the task of giving India a strong finish at the death. This means that either the team will have to persist with Jadeja at 7, or maybe swap his spot with Hardik. However, Hardik has also done remarkably well at No.6, so its unlikely that they will make that move either.
Come what may, Jadeja the finisher will have to find a way to step up, and take charge while batting with the tail.
5) Kuldeep Yadav v Babar Azam
Kuldeep Yadav vs Babar Azam will be a crucial match-up to watch out for.
The champion left-arm wrist-spinner has had a lid over Azam in each of their past two meetings. Overall, Kuldeep has conceded just 18 runs against Babar (off 34 deliveries) while dismissing him twice.
Featured Image Credit: ICC