Welcome to Dawn.com’s live coverage of the highly-anticipated Pakistan-India World Cup fixture. The Group B clash in Adelaide promises high-voltage action despite the recent fortunes of the two teams.
Cricket excitement reached fever pitch today as traditional rivals Pakistan and India meet in a World Cup blockbuster touted as the most watched encounter in the history of the sport.
The refurbished Adelaide Oval resembled a sea of blue and green — the respective colours of India and Pakistan — as fans began packing the sold-out stands two hours ahead of the start of the day-night game.
Geoffrey Boycott's takes on on BBC's Test Match Special
"Pakistan never really got in the game with the bat. Their openers were kept in check by the Indian bowlers who bowled a really disciplined line. They squeezed the pressure and then the dam burst and the wickets came. There was a huge collapse in the middle and the game was over before it was over."
Virat Kohli scored an imperious century as India opened their World Cup defence in convincing fashion with a 76-run victory over Pakistan in a frenzied atmosphere.
The much-anticipated Pool B grudge match, the latest chapter in one of the great rivalries in sport, attracted a passionate crowd of 41,587 to the revamped ground with up to a billion more tuning in on the sub-continent and around the world.
It was the two thirds of the crowd dressed in the blue of India who had most to cheer, though, as Kohli brushed aside concerns over his recent one-day form with a knock of 107 to drive his side to an imposing tally of 300 for seven.
Pakistan started their reply steadily before a three-wicket blitz in two overs at the halfway mark of the innings saw opener Ahmed Shehzad depart for 47 and reduced them to 103 for five.
Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq (76) and Shahid Afridi flirted with a match-changing partnership but once the latter departed for 22 and Wahab Riaz followed in the same over, Pakistan's hopes of a first win over India in six World Cup attempts was gone.
Indian seamer Mohammed Shami took four for 35 but it was Mohit Sharma who drove the final nail into the coffin when Sohail Khan holed out for seven to end the Pakistan innings at 224 all out.
Kohli's century was the first by an Indian in those six World Cup encounters and took his impressive tally to 22 in one-day internationals, joint fourth on the all-time list with his former skipper Sourav Ganguly.
Dropped from a difficult chance by Yasir Shah off Afridi on seven and again by wicketkeeper Umar Akmal on 76, Kohli otherwise played well within himself and gave few chances in his 126 balls at the crease.
The 26-year-old put together a dominant partnership of 129 with Shikhar Dhawan (73) and, once the opener had been run out, another of 110 with Suresh Raina (74), whose innings was as aggressive as Dhawan's had been considered.
Kohli reached his hundred with a single to long on, whipping off his helmet to celebrate his fourth century in five one-day and test matches at the Adelaide Oval.
Sohail Khan took 5-55 in his first one-dayer since 2011, removing both Kohli and Raina as well as India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni as three Indian batsmen were sent back in the last couple of overs.
That gave Pakistan some momentum but they lost it completely when Shehzad, Sohaib Maqsood (0) and Akmal (0) were dismissed in two overs.
Misbah played the captain's role in his 84-ball 76, which included nine fours and a six, but the 40-year-old's quest for a maiden one-day century will go on to his 157th match.
Tim Nielsen, forrmer Australia coach on BBC Test Match Special sums it up:
"India won in a manner which shows they were well prepared for this game. They got their head around which was the right line-up to field on this pitch at Adelaide. The two spinners did an excellent job and the wickets were shared between the group."
OUT! Sohail Khan departs and Pakistan lost to India by 76 runs. This is India's sixth win against Pakistan in World Cup matches. Virat Kohli has been declared as the Man of the Match.
OUT! Here goes Misbah after a fighting 76 off 84 deliveries
Misbah-ul-Haq cuts a ball away. — AFP
FOUR! Sohail Khan takes on Yadav with a powerful shot on the leg side
FOUR! Mibah hits Jadeja towards the mid wicket boundary, and follows it up with two consecutive boundaries
Geoffrey Boycott on what Pakistan can learn from India
"India's batting was very controlled, patient and solid. It was only in the last few overs that they lost a few wickets. It's been a good, solid performance by India. It's Pakistan who need to improve a bit."
OUT! Mohit Sharma gets Yasir caught out on mid-on
FOUR! This time Yasir Shah shows his class and sweeps Ashwin's delivery towards the leg side
FOUR! And here comes the Misbah's superb reverse sweep off Jadeja. Pakistan at 193/7 in 39.3 overs
Pakistan 187/7 off 39 overs. 113 runs off 66 balls required.
"The Pakistan batting collapsed too easily. They were doing reasonably well but then they suddenly lost concentration and discipline. The bowling could be better too. Without raising a gallop, India were allowed to hit the ball into gaps for ones and twos," says Geoff Boycott
Looking a little gloomy for Pakistan. They now require 117 runs with 72 balls remaining | Req RR: 9.75
FIFTY! And with two runs guiding the ball on the off side, the Pakistan captain completes his 39th ODI half-century.
FOUR! Boundary! Misbah is striving hard out there!
FOUR! Another boundary by Misbah on the long off boundary. Such a powerful striker of the ball.
FOUR! Good batting by Misbah, easily drives it through the off side.
Jonathan Agnew on BBC Test Match Special in Adelaide
"The Pakistan supporters are leaving quite quickly now. It's as though someone has blown a whistle and said 'everyone out, we're going home'."
SIX! Misbah goes for a big one on mid-on!
OUT! Another gone, and the Greenshirts yet again failing to cope up with the pressure of an India-Pakistan match
OUT! Afridi tries to go for a big one and loses his wicket off Shami. Virat Kohli takes the catch.
FOUR! Misbah plays an elegant cover drive off Yadav, and follows the suit by directing another delivery towards the fine leg boundary
A highly unlikely task
Pakistan require 162 runs with 102 balls remaining with five wickets in hand | Req RR: 9.52
Jonathan Agnew on BBC Test Match Special in Adelaide
"Pakistan's chances are one in a hundred now. It does appear to be India's game. Incidentally, this ground is lovely. It's the first time I've seen it under lights since it's been developed. They've done a great job - you'd be happy to watch all of your cricket here."
"India visibly more confident at the moment," says Mark Nicholas
FOUR! Afridi directs it towards the deep square leg boundary, trying hard to keep the game alive
SIX! Shahid Afridi hits it towards the mid-wicket boundary
OUT! Jadeja strikes, Umar Akmal departs on zero.
Tim Nielsen, former Australia coach for BBC Test Match Special on Sohaib Maqsood's dismissal
"A flashing almost 45-degree, half-cut, half-drive. It's flown high and hard to Raina's right and he's clung on to that."
OUT! In comes Sohaib Maqsood, and out he goes!
OUT! Yadav gets Shehzad on point. He scored 47 off 73 balls.
Sourav Ganguly says:
"It is all about one of your top order getting a hundred."
Who will it be for Pakistan? Misbah will be hoping its Shehzad. The opener's consumed 71 deliveries for his 46. Pakistan require 203 runs with 168 balls remaining | Req RR: 7.25
FOUR! A beautiful cut shot off Ashwin. And Shehzad follows up with another boundary over the long-off
This was such a crucial wicket. Pressure is back on Pakistan now. In-form Misbah is at the crease and Pakistan desperately needs a big partnership. Require 220 more runs to win with 187 balls remaining.
OUT! Ashwin dismisses Sohail. Totally misread the delivery. Pakistan 79/2 in 18 overs.
Pakistan require 229 runs with 204 balls remaining | Req RR: 6.73
Drinks on for the teams. Decent start for Pakistan. If they keep wickets in hand anything is possible with the batsmen they still have to come. But they cannot leave it for too late in the piece and must keep up with the required rate. Shehzad 28 off 43, Sohail 31 off 39.
FOUR! Shehzad drives it over the long-off boundary! Pakistan 67/1 in 15 overs
Ashwin into the attack now. Let's see how much of a role he plays. There was no support for the Pakistani spinners from the pitch. He bowls a maiden at the run rate creeps up to 6.75 now. Pakistan 58/1 in 14
FOUR! Shehzad charges down the wickets and slaps Mohit Sharma over mid-wicket. Thudded into the fence, that one.
In other news, Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan insists Lasith Malinga will still be a factor at the World Cup despite the sling-arm fast bowler enduring a nightmare return to action after six months out.
Malinga was smashed to all parts of the Hagley Oval on Saturday in his team's 98-run loss to New Zealand, ending with figures of none for 84 off his 10 overs as the Black Caps piled up 331 for six.
It was the 31-year-old's first international match since undergoing ankle surgery in September.
But Muralitharan, who retired in 2011 after taking 534 ODI and 800 Test wickets, believes Malinga will have benefitted from his brutal treatment.
“Although Lasith Malinga's figures look like a horror show with none for 84 from his 10 overs, he will have benefited from the outing,”
Pakistan's run rate has dropped a bit. They require 254 runs with 234 balls remaining | Req RR: 6.51
While keeping wickets in tact is a good idea, they must be mindful that the target is 301.
"The opening India bowlers have bowled a good length. It's been very disciplined and I know there's a long way to go, but so far they've done quite well," Geoff Boycott says.
Teams have employed a simple tactic against Pakistan in the field: pack the off side field with two layers of fielders and choke them. Soon, a needless shot will come. But so far Haris Sohail and Ahmed Shehzad have been patient.
Pakistan 45/1 after 9 overs, require 256 runs with 246 balls remaining | Req RR: 6.24
Haris Sohail looks really solid in defense as opposed to when he comes down the order and tries to play one too many shots.
Tim Nielsen, former Australia coach on BBC Test Match Special
"Pakistan kept themselves in the contest by restricting India to 5-27 off the last five overs of their innings. That certainly got their tales up and has shown in the positive start they've made in this run chase."
FOUR! What a shot! Ahmed Shehzad has had enough of these short deliveries, smacks Shami over mid-wicket for a cracking boundary!
In case you missed it: Pakistan vs India: The greatest drama
This great rivalry has lasted over sixty years – but it might never have happened at all, for there was no certainty that Pakistan would come into being as a separate cricket nation. At independence, India inherited the title deeds of Test cricket on the sub-continent, and the organisation and most of the infrastructure of first-class cricket. Despite the agony and suffering of partition, it was conceivable that Pakistan and its players might have continued to play as part of an Indian structure, as the West Indies have combined players from independent nations. Read more here
Tim Nielsen, Former Australia coach on BBC Test Match Special
"While Umesh Yadav's pace is OK, his radar is all over the shop at the moment."
FOUR! Haris Sohail times this one sweetly off his legs! Yadav's pace is enough to get this to the midwicket boundary! The next one is even better! Lovely cover drive that. Pakistan 28/1 in 5 overs.
OUT! Younis falls! A nothing of a shot, a half pull, half bunt. The pacy Mohammad Shami gets the first wicket for India. Haris Sohail is the new man in. Pakistan 11/1 in 3.2
FOUR! Younis smacks it off his pads! That's bread and butter even for the kind of form he's in. One would assume he's been promoted up the order to steady one end while Shehzad plays freely.
Umesh Yadav finishes a tight first over. Younis Khan a little hesitant as an opener, well generally a hesitant ODI player. Ahmed Shehzad on the other hand would want to start off with a bang. PAK 2/0 in 1
Imran Khan says pressure is on but Pakistan has a fighting chance
Former cricketer, PTI Chairman Imran Khan on ARY said Pakistan managed to restrict India to 300 thanks to bowling attack.
"Pakistan’s specialist bowlers have saved Pakistan today," he said.
He added that Pakistan needs to stay strong with its opening batsmen in the second innings. "Best batsmen should be sent first and try not to let wickets fall. If batsmen stand their ground, then a big total can be chased."
"The pressure is on Pakistan... India right now has the advantage. But Pakistan has a fighting chance."
"If Pakistan wants to win this match, he should not play beyond number four. I know he likes to play five but at that point it is a salvage position. It is better to prevent a crisis than to save the team during a crisis."
"Misbah has good technique and experience... him and Younis should play at three and four."
Virat Kohli hit a landmark 107 as India piled up 300-7 after electing to bat in the World Cup match against arch-rivals Pakistan at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan made 73 and fellow left-hander Suresh Raina smashed 74 off 56 balls in front of a sell-out crowd of over 47,000 in a pool B game being beamed to an estimated 2.5 billion across the world.
Kohli survived two dropped catches to notch up his 22nd one-day ton in his 151st match, the first century by an Indian in World Cup matches against Pakistan.
Kohli surpassed Sachin Tendulkar's 98 at Centurion in 2003 where Pakistan opener Saeed Anwar scored 101. Kohli put on 129 for the second wicket with Dhawan and 110 for the third with Raina to leave Pakistan facing a target of six runs an over for their first World Cup win over India after five straight defeats.
Pakistan's most successful chase in the World Cup was 262 against New Zealand in 1992, but the easy-paced wicket at the Adelaide Oval and India's mediocre bowling will give Misbah-ul Haq's men hope.
Kohli was let-off on the long-on fence by Yasir Shah when he was on three and again by wicket-keeper Umar Akmal after he had moved to 76.
He was finally caught by Akmal in the 46th over, Raina holed out in the deep in the 48th before three wickets fell at the score of 296. India still managed to add 83 runs in the last 10 overs.
Dhawan and Rohit Sharma made a slow, but steady start against the spot-on Pakistani seamers with an opening stand of 34 by the eighth over.
Sharma, the only batsman with two 200s in one-day internationals, made 15 when he top-edged an intented pull off hard-working seamer Sohail Khan and was caught at mid-off.
Sohail, a 30-year-old who played the last of his five one-dayers in 2011, conceded just 15 runs in his first five overs. He finished with creditable figures of five for 55 from 10 overs.
Kohli overcame a hesitant start to bring up India's 50 in the 12th over and 100 in the 21st with well-timed boundaries.
Both Kohli and Dhawan had the bowlers at their mercy when Pakistan earned a lucky break in the 30th over as Dhawan was run out after his partner turned down a sharp single.
The left-hander hit seven boundaries and a six in his 12th one-day half-century.
OUT! Pakistan finishing well. Dhoni top edges a pull shot and mid off takes an easy catch. That is a big wicket at this stage, four for Sohail now.
India 296/5 in 49. Projections: 302 at Current Run Rate | 302 runs at 6 RPO | 304 runs at 8 RPO
OUT! Brilliant slower delivery by Wahab Riaz tricks Jadeja and the stumps are shattered.
SIX! Full-toss by Sohail smacked away over mid-wicket by Dhoni. A powerful strike!
OUT! Sohail Khan traps dangerous-looking Raina on 74. This is Sohail's third wicket. India 284/4 in 47.3 overs.
47 Over: IND 283/3. Four off that Riaz over. Shane Warne think if Pakistan can stifle India a bit here, they'll come out much confident with the bat.
Projections: 301 at Current Run Rate | 301 runs at 6 RPO | 307 runs at 8 RPO
Wahab Riaz to bowl right at the death
India 279/3 off 46. Projections: 303 at Current Run Rate | 303 runs at 6 RPO | 311 runs at 8 RPO
How many can India get in the last four. Pakistani fans think they've already got enough to trouble their batsmen!
FOUR! Dhoni, off just his second delivery, smacks Sohail Khan through the covers for a boundary!
OUT! Pakistan finally get their man! Kohli attempts a swipe but only manages to edge to the Umar Akmal, who thankfully for Pakistan, gets one in his gloves! India 273/3 in 45.2
Boycott not impressed by Pakistan's bowling stocks
"I've enjoyed it but in some ways it's been a bit muted and a bit too easy for the Indian batsmen. They've not been pushed. I don't know if that's to do with the pitch or Pakistan's bowling attack."
India projections: 303 at Current Run Rate | 303 runs at 6 RPO | 313 runs at 8 RPO
FOUR! Mohammad Irfan to Kohli and the latter drives it over the midwicket. This brings Raina-Kohli partnership to 100 runs off 87 balls.
FOUR! Sohail Khan has gone for plenty in this over. Raina hits third consecutive boundary. India 259/2 in 44
FOUR! Raina gives the right treatment to Sohail's poor delivery on the leg side and follows it up by smacking for another boundary over the bowler's head.
India 245/2 43. Projections: 285 at Current Run Rate | 287 runs at 6 RPO | 301 runs at 8 RPO
Sohail Khan into the attack now. Both the batsmen will be looking to get after him but he was getting some swing early on.
SIX! Raina smacks Afridi over square leg before moving to his 50 off just 40 balls. This is his 34th ODI fifty, India motoring along now.
CENTURY! Kohli gets another big one against Pakistan. He was under tremendous stress to deliver before the game and he's stood tall, albeit, with a reprieve from Umar Akmal behind the stumps.
SIX! Misbah took a risk, bringing Yasir in the last ten and Raina makes him pay with a flat six over midwicket.
India projections: 271 at Current Run Rate | 277 runs at 6 RPO | 297 runs at 8 RPO
After 40 overs India are well-placed on 217/2. Right, what do we have in store for the last 10?
In a poll, 84 % of our readers think India will cross the 300 mark.
The way things are going they may go well past it. What could Pakistan have done different today? The bowlers have put in the hard yards but the Indian batsmen have been very sensible about the way they have gone about business!
FOUR! Irfan now leaking runs. He's had an ordinary day, two warnings and way off the line in this match. Easy pickings for Kohli off his pads.
Sunil Gavaskar: "Looks like we have 15 overs of madness ahead of us."
With Dhoni and Jadeja in the bank expect some fireworks for sure! If they come off, Pakistan will have a monumental task ahead of them.
India has an average of scoring at 6.69 RPO during the batting powerplay
FOUR! Raina sends it towards the mid on boundary off Riaz
India Projections: 279 at Current Run Rate | 286 runs at 6 RPO | 318 runs at 8 RPO
The Pakistani bowlers just being milked by the Indian batsmen but Misbah's side haven't been helped by some very sloppy fielding. India looking all set for a big one here.
DROPPED! Umar Akmal drops Kohli off Haris Sohail! The price Pakistan will pay for not having a regular keeper!
Suresh Raina is the new man in for India. He's usually quite solid against Pakistan and a very good player of spin. India projections: 275 at Current Run Rate | 285 runs at 6 RPO | 325 runs at 8 RPO
OUT! Dhawan falls! Out of nowhere Pakistan affect a run out. A bit lazy by the batsman as Ahmed Shehzad's throw from short mid-on hits the stumps directly!
The bails light up electronically as they fly off the stumps. — Reuters
FOUR! Haris Sohail, who's the sixth bowling option for Pakistan, drops it short and it's easy pickings for Kohli who cuts it past point!
FOUR! This time it's towards long off! Dhawan finding his feet now and making Yasir look quite harmless now. India are doing this quite sensibly as the move along to 156/1 in 29. India projections: 269 at Current Run Rate | 282 runs at 6 RPO | 324 runs at 8 RPO
FOUR! Dhawan charged Yasir Shah towards the long on. The ball is coming quite easily on to the bat.
India is looking quite solid at the moment. Pakistan needs a breakthrough to stop India's fast-rising momentum.
Irfan gets his second official warning and he's come around the wicket now! Pakistan's attack already looks a couple of strike options short and they surely can't afford their lanky pacer to be out of commission. Another warning and he's out!
Ramiz Raja in the commentary box: "Irfan's size 52 feet have be warned for following through into the danger-zone"
Virat Kohli hits a high shot to deep mid wicket off Afridi. — Reuters
Geoffrey Boycott on BBC Test Match Special
"The Indians haven't been silly here, they've been sensible. Shikhar Dhawan can be a bit of 'a flash Harry' at times, but today he's really reined himself in."
It was quite a tough chance to be fair to Yasir Shah
Tim Nielsen, Former Australia coach on BBC Test Match Special
"There's a jaunty little bounce to his stride Yasir Shah. They're always a little bit out of the ordinary in their mannerisms leg spinners. There's a bit of Abdul Qadir about his action."
But he's been quite harmless today, no turn on offer. And Kohli gets his 50 off 60 balls at India move to 122/1 in 23.
FOUR! Dhawan sends it towards the point off Riaz. India cruises to 115/1 in 20.
FIFTY for Dhawan! Played a calm innings under pressure
FOUR! What a shot from Kohli! Got inside the line of that Yasir deliver and smacked it over cover! He follows it up with another one through point! Yasir Shah under pressure!
Stephan Shemilt of the BBC:
"For the most watched cricket match of all-time, the hottest ticket in this, or any other, town and the biggest sporting rivalry in the world, there are actually rather a lot of empty seats in Adelaide.
"They seem to grouped together, rather than dotted around, so I wonder if transport/staying the in city was an issue."
FOUR! Short and Dhawan rocks back on the backfoot, just timing that Yasir delivery to the boundary! IND 94/1 from 19
India projections: 247 at Current Run Rate | 280 runs at 6 RPO | 342 runs at 8 RPO
Yasir Shah into the attack now. This spell may hold the key. India's never seen him but they're quite comfortable against spin. Let's see if he can get any spin from this surface.
FOUR! A bad delivery by Riaz, deserved the treatment. Dhawan quite comfortably directed it towards the fine leg.
India projections: 237 at Current Run Rate | 281 runs at 6 RPO | 351 runs at 8 RPO
FOUR! Kohli beautifully sweeps it towards the fine leg off Afridi
Rohit Sharma wonders what could have been. — AFP
India Projections: 215 at Current Run Rate | 278 runs at 6 RPO | 352 runs at 8 RPO
South Africa have score more 93 in their last five overs against Zimbabwe, so anything's possible!
FOUR! Kohli smacks Sohail Khan in front of square for a cracking boundary! IND 52/1 in 12.
Afridi and Yasir will play a key role, Boycott says
"The key to the game is the two wrist spinners. If they bowl well for Pakistan, they'll keep India in check with 20 overs of tight bowling. If not, there's a strong chance India can get away here and make a big total."
And just as he says that Yasir Shah in the deep drops Kohli off Afridi!
And Yasir Shah has DROPPED Kohli! Shahid Afridi looks furious!
Geoff Boycott on BBC's Test Match Special
"I think that came about by a bit of pressure created by the Pakistan bowlers. The pitch isn't doing much and apart from one long hop, they've bowled it pretty tight and India haven't got off to a flier. That's a poor shot and he's committed a mistake."
India move to 40/1 off 9 overs
Houseful for high voltage Pakistan-India encounter. — Screengrab
SIX! What a beautifully executed pull by Dhawan off Irfan.
FOUR! Sharma drives Irfan through the covers this time as India move to 21/0 from 5 overs. Not the slam-bang type but a cautious accumulation this by India.
FOUR! Dhawan cuts a half-tracker by Sohail Khan for India's first boundary before Sharma repeats the dose off Irfan. Sharma's was a beautiful flick off the pads to a good length ball! India move to 17 off 4.3
Geoffrey Boycott on BBC's Test Match Special
"They should have had this game in Melbourne, not Adelaide, straight after England v Australia yesterday. They would have had another 90,000 in the crowd for it. I've seen a number of these games before and the atmosphere is incredible. Both sets of fans don't care about the game, they just want to win. It's that big for them."
Yasir Shah's the best legspinner in the game today: Warne
Yasir's hero Shane Warne says the Swabi-born spinner's got all the attributes a great legspinner should have. According to Warne, he's the one to look out for.
SMH's Scyld Berry on the Pakistani team
It is hard to say what Pakistan's particular strength is. It could have been spin, but Saeed Ajmal was banned before their squad was chosen and has only just been cleared, then Mohammed Hafeez was banned as well before being injured.
These off-spinners would have been all the more potent because Pakistan have a full complement of left-arm pace bowlers to create some rough for their off-breaks. The giant Mohammad Irfan will be a threat to all teams as he can swing it and, while Junaid Khan was injured out of their squad, Pakistan have two more left-armers in Rahat Ali and Wahab Riaz.
Still, Pakistan will raise their game for their greatest rivals and, after all, the result does not matter. This is not the spirit of the Victorian era brought back to life, but the reality of the qualifying round: so long as you beat up the minnows in your group, the quarter-finals are guaranteed.
Just the two runs from Irfan's first over. The 7ft 1 pacer, as expected, is getting some bounce but he clearly held back in the opening over. Umar Akmal behind the stump meanwhile has fumbled a couple. The muscular Sohail Khan on from the other end.
And they're off!
After the countdown, Pakistan and India are set to play ball! Mohammad Irfan to start, Shikar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma opening for India.
Pakistan bowling attack for today's game: Shahid Afridi, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah, Sohail Khan, Mohammad Irfan and part-timer Haris Sohail
Pakistan are dark horses...again
Former Pakistan coach, Australia's Geoff Lawson, in his column for the Sydney Morning Herald writes:
Where are the dark horses? The perennial paradoxes are, of course, Pakistan. Which of their sides will turn up? The enigmatic form line seems to have levelled out in the last couple of years now that Misbah ul-Haq has taken the helm.
Pakistan will feel the emotion in this game, too, and it will be Misbah's job not to eliminate the emotion, but to shape it to inspire and drive his troops.
Perhaps Pakistan's biggest challenge will be how quickly they can adapt to the Australasian pitches. It is one thing to dominate on low-bouncing tracks in the UAE; it is another to play aggressive back-foot cricket Down Under when there hasn't been much time to adapt.
Pakistan have a capable all-round squad, and if they can sneak into a semi-final then all things are possible – even cool, calm, collected performances under pressure.
They are the dark horses, again.
'Be strong, play brave'
"Be strong, play brave," said Misbah-ul-Haq's mother to the Pakistan captain. She was speaking to a news channel just now.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Misbah-ul-Haq during the toss. — DawnNews screengrab
India wins toss, to bat first
Team news: Umar Akmal will keep wickets for Pakistan after regular gloveman Sarfraz Ahmed was left out. Veteran batsman Younis Khan will be opening the innings.
Pakistan: Ahmed Shehzad, Younis Khan, Haris Sohail, Misbah-ul-Haq*, Sohaib Maqsood, Umar Akmal†, Shahid Afridi, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah, Sohail Khan, Mohammad Irfan
India: RG Sharma, S Dhawan, V Kohli, AM Rahane, SK Raina, MS Dhoni*†, RA Jadeja, R Ashwin, UT Yadav, MM Sharma, Mohammed Shami
In case you missed it:
Snippets from Imran Khan’s message to the team
"Abandon fear of losing. If one fears losing they will keep making mistakes."
“The best batsman should start first…If Pakistan chases, Misbah should not play beyond number four.
"If you have wickets in hand you can even chase a big score… If the top order can score enough, beating India is possible.”
"At times a captain in good form can take his team ahead."
For India, seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the only concern and MS Dhoni is likely to go with the safe option of Ravindra Jadeja as the second spinner in the side instead of handing a World Cup debut to Axar Patel.
Here's the 15-man squad for India:
MS Dhoni*†, R Ashwin, STR Binny, S Dhawan, RA Jadeja, V Kohli, B Kumar, Mohammed Shami, AR Patel, AM Rahane, SK Raina, AT Rayudu, MM Sharma, RG Sharma, UT Yadav
News filtering in from Australia indicated Pakistan may open with Younis Khan and Ahmed Shehzad today with Umar Akmal donning the gloves. Here's the 15-man squad for Pakistan.
From: Misbah-ul-Haq*, Ahmed Shehzad, Ehsan Adil, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Irfan, Nasir Jamshed, Rahat Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed†, Shahid Afridi, Sohaib Maqsood, Sohail Khan, Umar Akmal†, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah, Younis Khan
Of high nerves: Crowd gathers at Adelaide Oval for Indo-Pak clash
Thousands have gathered without tickets waiting outside the stadium in temperatures already touching 38 degrees Celsius hoping to clinch a last-minute deal to get in, or at least have a glimpse of their heroes.
The Adelaide Oval resembled a sea of blue and green. — Reuters/File
The ground can hold 53,000 spectators but the capacity for the World Cup was reduced to 47,000 to make space for sightscreens at both ends — a loss for both the organisers and fans, agencies reported.
Tickets were sold out within 20 minutes when they went on sale online last year with officials saying that 80 per cent of the tickets were lapped up by people outside South Australia, both from within and outside the country.