Cricket World Cup: Five things to look out for this weekend

On Saturday India will clash against Pakistan in Ahmedabad, while England face Afghanistan in Dehli on Sunday.

India vs Pakistan – match of the tournament?

In what has been a fascinating tournament so far – almost every game has resulted in a comprehensive victory – the highly anticipated India vs Pakistan clash has finally arrived.

Every meeting between India and Pakistan has produced a compelling contest, with their last encounter resulting in a thrashing victory for India in the Asia Cup in September – India scored a whopping 356-2 before bowling Pakistan out for a mere 128-10.

In an interview with The Independent, Sky Sports journalist Nasser Hussein said: “The eyes on that one game will be phenomenal. And the players just make it out to be another game of cricket. They’ll come out and they’ll shake hands and all be very matey and enjoy each other’s company, but it is the most intense – the biggest rivalry in sport I’d say.”

Pre-match performances controversy for India vs Pakistan

Last week it was announced by the BCCI that there will be ‘A Musical Odyssey’ pre-match performance, with Arijit Singh, Shankar Mahadevan and Sukhwinder set to sing.

This news caused a stir on X (formerly Twitter) with fans confused as to why the ‘pre-match show’ has only been planned for this World Cup match with no others set to receive such treatment.

The World Cup did not have an opening ceremony prior to the first match of the tournament, which has fuelled frustration as to why India vs Pakistan deserves to be hyped up to such an extent.

Babar Azam, No. 1 ranked ODI player, yet to find his rhythm

The Pakistan captain will be looking to bring the best of his game to Pakistan’s innings, after scoring just five and 10 in his last two innings – he averages 60 in the One-Day International (ODI) format.

His captaincy has resulted in two wins from Pakistan’s two games so far, but if his team are set to go far in this year’s tournament then his form will undoubtedly have to improve – what better time to start than against India on Saturday.

England vs Afghanistan and Joe Root’s run-scoring form

Having been crushingly defeated their first fixture of the tournament against New Zealand, England came back strong against Bangladesh and will look to extend response to a second win of the tournament on Sunday against Afghanistan.

Joe Root, ex-England Test captain, had been in poor form leading up to this World Cup, however after having scrambled to 77 against New Zealand, Root made a flowing 82 against Bangladesh – now in-form, England will be hoping his run-scoring can inspire the team struggling middle-order.

Could Ben Stokes return from injury in time?

A notable absentee in England’s side is the 2019 World Cup hero Ben Stokes who has had knee problems throughout the last few years and is currently struggling with a hip injury. 

After scoring a monster 182 runs against New Zealand in a pre-tournament series against New Zealand, Stokes has not since played a competitive game with England captain Jos Butler speaking to Sky Sports last week saying: ‘It’s not the time to take big risks’.

Both matches will make enthralling viewing for cricket fans this weekend as each team looks to continue the World Cup streak of dominant victories.

Featured image: Pixabay

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