Series Leveled by 1-1

3rd ODI to be played between Pakistan and India tomorrow at Gaddafi stadium Lahore is crucial and very important for both of the teams because the series of 5 ODIs is leveled by 1-1. India has got psychological advantage over Pakistan by outclassing Pakistan in every department of game in last ODI played at Rawalpindi yesterday.

Fielding can be a key to success in ODI especially because only one catch dropped or a half chance taken can change the consequence of a match. Pakistan has exposed their lower club level fielding in previous match where not only they were unable to stop easy boundaries; they dropped very easy catches in slip. In the test series as well they had dropped a large number of easy catches. If we review the third test played at Karachi, we see that though Pakistan had won the match but they had dropped five very easy catches in first innings and three or four catches in the 2nd innings. Hence bowlers have to deliver extra wicket taking deliveries. On the other hand Indians have world class fielders like Yuvraj Singh and Muhammad Kaif in their side plus Raina is also a very good fielder. Only Muhammad Kaif and Yuvraj can block 30-40 runs for opposition and also they are capable of converting half chances into full by taking one or two stunning catches. Indians have also proved their ability to hit wicket with direct or very accurate throws on a number of occasion, you know four Pakistani batsmen were run out at Rawalpindi. So conclusion is that India has a strong fielding squad than Pakistan.

Batting stats for the both teams are almost equal. Both the teams have World class batsmen like Inzamam-Ul-Haq, Rahul Dravid, Muhammad Yousaf, Tendulkar, Shoaib Malik, Sehwag, and also they are having some fine pinch hitters like Shahid Afridi, Irfan Pathan, Abdul Razzaq, Dhoni and also tail can bat through one or two overs. In short both India and Pakistan have very long and deep batting line up. Important thing is to handle the pressure of such a big series for any batsman.

Pakistan has always dominated in the bowling department in the past against any opposition. Similar was the case in test series where Muhammad Sami and Shoaib Akhtar were part of the team. Though both of them had not taken many wickets but their fear was enough for the opposition. Now when both of them are not part of team there is no pace bowler in the team. Muhammad Asif and Rana Naveed-ul-Hassan are seamers and they are just medium pacers. On the dead and slow wicket of Rawalpindi, Pakistan needed a Pace bowler to exert pressure on India. Rana Naveed and Razzaq were unable to move the ball in the air or off the seam but Indian bowlers especially Pathan had moved the ball cleverly. So bowling side of Pakistan has been under pressure in both of the first two ODIs.

Now Pakistan should take a chance to include some new pace bowler to strengthen the bowling. Yasir Arafat and Muhammad Irshad are two good and eligible candidates. Because if we are supposed to give score at the rate of 6 to 7 per over then why not try a new bowler to give him a chance.

Shoaib Akhtar is no doubt a big difference between two teams but now it is announced that he can’t play in the remaining matches of the series. Pakistan needs to exert pressure and play sensibly to win the match at Lahore.

Now to win this match any team batting first should make a total of 330+ and chasing team needs to restrict the first innings total below 300 because anything above 300 really puts a lot of pressure in the batsman’s minds. But any thing below 300 is very easy to chase now on the wickets of subcontinent and moreover we are having 20 overs with field restriction which were previously 15.

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