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Faisal KAMAL

Pakistan opt to bowl against India in Asia Cup Super Four clash

Pakistan captain Babar Azam (L) won the toss and put India captained by Rohit Sharma (R) into bat in their Asia Cup Super Four clash . ©AFP

Dubai (AFP) - Pakistan skipper Babar Azam won the toss and elected to field first against India in a key Super Four Twenty20 international of the Asia Cup on Sunday.

The two Asian giants meet for the second time in the six-nation tournament after India edged Pakistan in the group stage last week.

Pakistan have made one change from their 155-run hammering of Hong Kong in the group stage with pace bowler Mohammad Hasnain coming in for the injured Shahnawaz Dahani, who was ruled out due to a suspected side strain.

"We will bowl first.The dew could be a factor, that's the reason we're bowling first," Azam said at the toss.

"We had a lot of positives from the last match against India.The message is to play positively."

India, who made the Super Four stage with two wins over Pakistan and Hong Kong, have made three changes to their team with Hardik Pandya, who was rested in the previous match, returning to the XI.

Leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi and all-rounder Deepak Hooda make the team in place of Ravindra Jadeja, who was forced out of the tournament with an injured knee, and Avesh Khan, who is recovering from illness.

Skipper Rohit Sharma said they would have bowled first as well had he won the toss but believes playing freely in the much-hyped match would be key.

"We would have bowled first, but now we need to play freely and amass a good score on this pitch," said Rohit.

"Momentum counts in this format, you've to be on the money from the start, not worry about external pressures."

Rohit said Jadeja has returned home and it was a "headache" selecting the team for their opening match in the Super Four.

The bitter rivals play each other only in multi-nation tournaments due to political tensions.

The top two teams at the end of the Super Four stage will play the final at the same venue on September 11.

The tournament is a prelude to the T20 World Cup in October-November in Australia.


India: KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma (capt), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Deepak Hooda, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravi Bishnoi, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh

Pakistan: Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain

Umpires: Masudur Rahman (BAN), Raveendra Wimalasiri (SRI)

TV Umpire: Ruchira Palliyaguruge (SRI)

Match Referee: Andy Pycroft (BAN)

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