India's captain Virat Kohli (R) celebrates
India's captain Virat Kohli (R) celebrates with teammates after their victory. Image Credit: AFP

Team India have remained unbeaten in the World Cups so far against Pakistan. Can Pakistan snap India’s win streak? Find out by following the Gulf News coverage with our cricket panel of Ashfaq Ahmed, Leslie Wilson Jr. and Shyam A. Krishna, who will keep you engrossed with their analysis. Our Sports Editor Gautam Bhattacharyya will take you through the game via twitter handle @gulfnewssport. And our Assistant Editor Chiranjib Sengupta also takes you through live analysis with the cricket panel on our Gulf News Facebook page. Cricket experts A.K. Satish and Balaram Menon interpret the game.

India beat Pakistan to maintain perfect World Cup record

India extended its record to 7-0 against arch-rival Pakistan in Cricket World Cup games with an 89-run victory in a rain-interrupted encounter that likely will remain the most-watched game of the six-week tournament.

India's captain Virat Kohli
India's captain Virat Kohli (C) embraces Pakistan's Imad Wasim (left) after their victory. Image Credit: AFP

Play resumes

Pakistan is 182 for 6 in 37 overs. They need 120 more runs from 18 balls to win this game.... Impossible!

History repeats

Satish: Play to resume. To be a 40-over contest. Pakistan need to score 136 runs in 5 overs. The revised target is 302.  It is not only the format that is followed as per 1992 World Cup, even this revised score reminds one of the one ball 22 runs needed for South Africa… History repeats itself.

Spectators shelter as rain stops play
Spectators shelter as rain stops play again. Image Credit: AFP

Rain interrupts again, Pakistan 86 runs behind DLS par score

Satish: Rain stops play. But not a good news for Pakistan as Sarfaraz Ahmad’s team are 86 runs behind the par score. According to the DLS method Pakistan should have been 254. Current score is 166 for 6 in 35 overs.

Virat Kohli
India's captain Virat Kohli looks on as rain falls again. Image Credit: AFP

Captain Sarfaraz returns

Chiranjib: Sarfaraz Ahmed clean bowled by Vijay Shankar for 12; the 3D man strikes. Micky Arthur is praying for some intense rain. Pakistan 165/6 in 34.1 overs.

Indian supporters celebrate in the crowd
Indian supporters celebrate in the crowd. Image Credit: AFP

Mission impossible for Pakistan

Chiranjib: Tottering at 157/5, Pakistan require another 181 runs with 5 wickets and 17 overs remaining. That’s a really tall task. Sarafraz should have heeded Imran Khan’s call with the toss in the morning!

Ashfaq Ahmed: With Pakistan middle order collapse, I remember Asif Ali who could have change the game with his pinch hitting. He could have made the difference at this point of the game.

Pakistan's captain Sarfaraz Ahmed plays a shot
Pakistan's captain Sarfaraz Ahmed plays a shot. Image Credit: AFP

Kuldeep, Pandya wreak havoc, Pakistan 5 down

Shyam A. Krishna: Pakistan is on skid row now. Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik left too quickly. And that means dire trouble. Pakistan are far behind in the par score too. Pakistan’s batting runs deep with Wahad Riaz coming in at 10. He can bat well and score quickly. So Pakistan is capable of recovering from this collapse. But when the pressure is on the best too falter. So the writing is on the wall for Pakistan. 132/5 in 28.2 overs.

Leslie Wilson Jr: It’s all over! Pakistan in big, big trouble at 129 for 5 (27 overs). The British bookmakers have written them off pushing their odds out to 60/1. Indian 1/500! Which means that if you bet dh 500 you only win Dh 1. Crazy.

Pakistan's Imad Wasim in plays a shot
Pakistan's Imad Wasim plays a shot.

Pakistan on the brink of a collapse

Chiranjib: Shoaib Malik out on a golden duck! Bowled Hardik Pandya for 0. Hardik on a hat-trick. Pakistan 129/5 in 27 overs.

India's Hardik Pandya celebrates
India's Hardik Pandya celebrates with teammates after the dismissal of Pakistan's Shoaib Malik. Image Credit: AFP

4th wicket falls, Pakistan in trouble

Chiranjib: And the professor is out! Mohammad Hafeez, c Shankar b Pandya for 9. There wasn’t much to learn from the class today, professor. Pakistan 129/4 in 26.5 overs.

India's Hardik Pandya
India's Hardik Pandya, centre, celebrates with his teammates taking the wicket of Pakistan's Mohammad Hafeez. Image Credit: AP

Kuldeep strikes again

Shyam A. Krishna: Pakistan in trouble. Fakhar Zaman out. Caught Chahal b Kuldeep Yadav for 62. That is a bad blow. Fakhar should have taken Paksitan home. Now with two new batsmen in, Pakistan will hit the skids. 126/3 in 25.2 overs.

Chiranjib: Usually China is an all-weather ally of Pakistan – but it seems to have momentarily abandoned them. For Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav has picked up Fakhar Zaman, who top-edged a sweep to short fine leg. A promising innings ends in a whimper. Time to order the pizzas, Ashfaq!

Ashfaq Ahmed: I have just cancelled my pizza order for Pakistan win. My Indian colleagues are jumping around in the office but still have not order any pizza for me. Pakistan stay put and bat till end.

Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav leaps into the air as he celebrates the dismissal of Pakistan's Fakhar Zaman. Image Credit: AFP

India get a breakthrough

Shyam A. Krishna: Breakthough for India. Babar Azam out for 48. Bowled Kuldeep Yadav. India gets an opening. I think they should get Bumrah into the attack. One more wicket and Pakistan will start slipping. 117/2 in 24 overs.

Ashfaq Ahmed: Babar is back to the dressing room, no worries. Prof Hafeez is in the ground to give some important lessons to Indian spinners. Keep watching.

India's Kuldeep Yadav celebrates the wicket of Pakistan's Babar Azam
India's Kuldeep Yadav celebrates the wicket of Pakistan's Babar Azam. Image Credit: Reuters

A DLS target

Ashfaq Ahmed: Crucial for Pakistan as at the end of 25 overs, Pakistan should be 136 for 1 to be ahead on DLS. Or 145 for 2. That’s why Fakhar picked up the pace.

Chiranjib: When India was batting, Kohli simply walked off when he thought he was caught behind. Later replays showed he wasn’t – there was not even a nick. India never reviewed that dismissal. And now it seems that the possible leg before wicket for Babar Azam off Chahal, which India didn't review, would have been out. Both could prove very costly for India – as it stands, luck is not smiling on India today.

Leslie Wilson Jr.: Century partnership between Fakhar Zaman (58) and Babar Azam (46) for the second wicket. Wow. That’s what you call consolidation. RR still 4.9 but will nine wickets in hand Pakistan will look to pick up the pace. Kholi needs to attack more before the match slips out of his control. Money pouring in for Pakistan with the British bookmakers!

Pakistan's Fakhar Zaman
Pakistan's Fakhar Zaman plays a shot. Image Credit: AFP

Pakistan back on track

Shyam A. Krishna: 100 up for Pakistan. Fakhar Zaman is shifting gears. He’s going after the Indian spinners. If he continues to be successful, then it is game over for India. 110/1 in 22.2 overs.

Shyam A. Krishna: Well played Fakhar Zaman. But 50 is not enough. He has to stick around to see Pakistan through. So far he’s played very well. 98/1 in 21.3 overs.

Ashfaq Ahmed: Well played Fakhar Zaman 50 in 60 balls. Keep going.

Pakistan need to accelerate

Shyam A. Krishna: The middle overs. Here’s where the game will be won and lost. India have to pick up a couple of quick wickets here or they can kiss the match goodbye. Pakistan is playing sensibly, but at some point they have to accelerate. Without losing wickets. I’m betting on Chahal and Yadav to turn the match around. 87/1 in 20 overs.

Ashfaq Ahmed: It is turning point of the game. This match is going to go to the wires. It should not be one sided man as cricket lovers are glued to their television sets and of course the Gulf News online.

Leslie Wilson Jr: I just did a quick Poll with 10 colleagues in the office. Six said India will win Four stuck with Pakistan. Thant’s how close the match is poised at this stage. But I didn’t tell you that I put my money on Pakistan and that makes it a tie! It’s shaping intoa real cliff-hanger…

Babar and Fakhar steady the innings for Pakistan

Ashfaq Ahmed: Pakistan is 75 for 1 in 16 overs. Right on target, Fakhar and Babar are now showing class. They can be dangerous for India if they continue to pick up pace, Good Luck.

Chiranjib: A somewhat quiet but steady partnership is building for Pakistan and India need a wicket now to consolidate their grip on the game. Babar Azam is the Virat Kohli of Pakistan – and along with Fakhar Zaman and Shoaib Malik, he can become a formidable challenge for India once set. With Bhuvi out of the game, who will get that precious breakthrough for India?

Leslie Wilson Jr: Pakistan seem to be batting to a plan. Consolidation the key. RR just 4.14 with 7.1 required. But plenty of wickets in hand. Still very hard to call.

Odds update: Pakistan pushed out to 8/1 (from 4/1) to beat India, whose odds are shortening with every over. Now as ridiculously low as 1/14. Even so, Pakistan attracting just over 40% of the money. Gamblers like jucy odds!

Pakistan's Babar Azam plays a shot
Pakistan's Babar Azam plays a shot. Image Credit: AFP

Big blow for India: Bhuvneshwar ruled out of this match

Shyam A. Krishna: Bad news for India, Bhuvi will no longer take part in this game. He’s out with a stiff hamstring. 56/1 in 13.3 overs.

India's Bhuvneshwar Kumar
India's Bhuvneshwar Kumar, left, bends in pain after bowling a delivery. Image Credit: AP

Pakistan dig in

Shyam A. Krishna: Pakistan seems to have recovered from Imam ul Haq’s dismissal. Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman seem to knuckle down with a no-frills approach without missing out on the bad balls. Exactly what the Indian batsmen did. They are setting up a platform. Never mind the run rate now as long as they have wickets in hand. 42/1 in 11.3 overs.

Ashfaq Ahmed: Pakistani batsmen seem to be settling down though they are finding it difficult to hit clean. Run rate is quite low 38/1 in 10 overs but it is important not to give wickets. Interesting spell with the spinners is coming up next. This be the most crucial part of the innings for both the sides. Keep watching.

Chiranjib: It’s Father’s Day – and Big Daddy Virat Kohli is fathering over the Indian team like an overprotective dad. Charged up yet sober, Kohli seems to have calmed down and matured a lot in this World Cup. His press conference yesterday, where he refused to be baited into “TRP creating” headlines, was a pleasant revelation.

Meanwhile, it’s unlikely we will see Bhuvi back on the field today – and that’s a huge blow for India. It derails the plan of leaving off Mohammad Shami. Who can fill in his shoes? Hardik Pandya played a brilliant 76 in the ICC Champions Trophy final in 2017 to single-handedly raise hopes of an unlikely Indian victory against Pakistan. Today he has a lot to deliver with the ball.

Spectators wave flags during the match
Spectators wave flags during the match. Image Credit: AFP

Who is Vijay Shankar

Satish: South Indians, especially the Tamils love coffee. Vijay Shankar’s love for coffee would have grown many fold as it was the episode of Koffee with Karan episode that enabled him to cement his spot in the Indian team.

After Hardik Pandya was censured and forced to return home from New Zealand following the controversial comments he made during the chat show, Vijay Shankar was brought in as his replacement. The Tamil Nadu all-rounder rescued India with a knock of 45, joining hands with Ambati Rayudu to forge a 98-run partnership for the fifth wicket, after the visitors were in trouble at 18 for 4, against the hosts New Zealand in the fifth One Day International at Wellington.

That battling knock gave him and the team management the confidence that Vijay Shankar could come in handy for the Indian team during the World Cup as an useful seamer.

Unfortunately, it was Rayudu whom the 28-year-old edge out in the squad for a berth to the trip to the World Cup. An untimely injury gave another opportunity to Vijay Shankar, who grabbed it this time after making a mess of things during the final against Bangladesh in the Nidahas Trophy in Sri Lanka. The rest is history…

India's Vijay Shankar celebrates the wicket of Pakistan's Imam-ul-Haq
India's Vijay Shankar celebrates the wicket of Pakistan's Imam-ul-Haq with team mates. Image Credit: Reuters

India obviously has an edge

Chiranjib: India have their first breakthrough. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah had the statistical upper hand against Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq going into this game, but it’s Vijay Shankar who got the wicket!

Meanwhile, let’s do some number crunching – the average first-innings score since 2015 at Old Trafford is 211. So India obviously has an edge with their mammoth score of 336. But four of the last five games have been won by the side chasing. The game swings again when you consider the Pakistan top order’s trouble against the short ball. It’s just become more interesting now.

Ashfaq Ahmed: Imam just threw away his wicket. It is time for Fakhar and Babar to consolidate their innings. They need to stay in the wicket and the runs will follow.

Satish: Thanks to the rain, the wicket has become soft and holding up a bit, making stroke-making difficult. Pakistan need to wait for the spinners to let loose. Remember the counter-attack of Wahab Riaz late against Australia. So keep wickets in tact.

Leslie Wilson Jr: Just who is Vijay Shankar… The Tamil Nadu quickie claimed first blood for India when he removed Imam ul-Haq. A surprise pick for thiskey match, the Bharat Army in England even wrote a song for him that goes like this “Jay Jay Vijay Shankar, he’ll pull away the bouncer, he’s a batting all-rounder. Pakistan have already banned this song. Just joking!

First wicket falls

Shyam A. Krishna: India strikes. Vijay Shankar gets Iman. Bhuvaneshwar leaves the field. Doesn’t look. Likely hamstring twinge they say. 13/1 for 4.5 overs.

Satish: Vijay Shankar strikes off the first ball of his World Cup. Replacing Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who hobbled off the pitch after bowling four balls, got Imam ul Haq leg before.

Leslie Wilson Jr: Tamil Nadu’s Vijay Shank justifies his surprise pick for the key match against Pakistan with the wicket of Imam ul-Haq – only his third ever wicket in the 50-over format. More to come?

Ashfaq Ahmed: Great start by Indian bowlers. Imam is out but here comes the dangerous Babar Azam. Pakistani openers had no clue how to handle the pacers. But here comes Babar Azam, now it will be raining fours.

India's Vijay Shankar (L) celebrates
India's Vijay Shankar (L) celebrates with captain Virat Kohli after the dismissal of Pakistan's Imam-ul-Haq. Image Credit: AFP
India's Bhuvneshwar Kumar delivers a ball
India's Bhuvneshwar Kumar delivers a ball. Image Credit: AFP

An exciting chase on the cards

Shyam A. Krishna: Hoping that we will have a full match. The first hour will be crucial for India and Pakistan. But then Indian spinners have wreaked havoc in the middle over. So there won’t be any respite for Pakistan. An exciting chase on the cards. Batmen are out in the middle.

Ashfaq Ahmed: In your dreams Shyam, Indian spinners will get hit big time today as Shoaib Malik and Hafeez are the best spin players. Just pray they don’t have to come to bat. We hope Fakhar, Imam and Babar finish the job.

Satish: It’s a cautious start for Pakistan, nevertheless a right one. Not easy against Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. It’s going to be relentless and Pakistan need to be patient to go the full distance.

Chiranjib: Pakistan must keep a watchful eye on both the required run rate of 6.74 and the weather – both of which together may decide this game. Steady and sedate start from Pakistan – and Bhuvneshwar Kumar cannot be bowling those lollies…

Leslie Wilson Jr: Still difficult to call… this is just the start of the Pakistan innings. It remains to be seen just how well the opening pair of Imam ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman handle the much-vaunted Indian pace attack of Bumrah and Bhivneshwar… They are doing pretty well so far, but still a long way to go…

Pakistan's Fakhar Zaman plays a shot
Pakistan's Fakhar Zaman plays a shot. Image Credit: AP

Pakistan innings begin

Satish: Fakhar Zaman needs to reproduce the knock he played against India in the Champions Trophy. But it is going to be tricky as they need to protect the wicket and at the same time score runs as a mid-match rain could jeopardise their chances. Covers are off. Time for umpires to call play… for Pakistan innings to start.

Ashfaq Ahmed: Match on with Fakhar and Imam, conditions look good. Lets start the run chase.

Chiranjib: The second half of this #IndiavsPakistan match will also be an openers game. Let’s see how Zaman and Imam face off against Bhuvi and Bumrah – as the occasional rain fiddles in the background. Will it be a thrilling chase or a damp squib? I will stick my neck out for the former.

India's Jasprit Bumrah bowls a delivery
India's Jasprit Bumrah bowls a delivery. Image Credit: AP

Will Pakistan get the runs?

Shyam A. Krishna: 336. I will take that. I had predicted 350. But rain and some excellent bowling from Mohammad Amir pulled India. 337 to win. That’s a stiff target.

Leslie Wilson Jr: Not much activity on the betting markets. India remain the 1/6 favourites with Pakistan a 4/1 chance to make history and chase down a record 336 runs… Game on!

Pakistan's Mohammad Amir and Sarfaraz Ahmed
Pakistan's Mohammad Amir and Sarfaraz Ahmed celebrate the wicket of India's Virat Kohli. Image Credit: Reuters

Listen: Half time analysis by our Chief Cricket Writer K.R. Nayar from Old Trafford, Manchester

Whose match is it anyway? Gulf News cricket panel discuss

Innings break

Chiranjib: Did Sarafraz gets his hands on some biriyani in the rain stoppage? Drops Vijay (3D) Shankar off Mohammad Amir. India finish at 336/5 – it’s a good comeback from Pakistan but also a tough total that they are looking at.

Ashfaq Ahmed: That’s all with the first innings. India put up a mammoth total of 336/5. A challenging total for Pakistan but they so unpredictable. Let’s see who will be Pakistan’s hero

Satish: Scores - India 336 for 5 in 50 overs (K.L. Rahul 57, Rohit Sharma 140, Virat Kohli 77, Hardik Pandya 26, Mohammad Amir 3 for 47) vs Pakistan.

Leslie Wilson Jr: So Pakistan have to score 337 to wins. Sounds a tough ask, but let’s not forget that they chased down 328 (for seven in 49.5 overs) against Bangladesh in the 2014 Asia Cup. This was the highest successful run chase in one day internationals by Pakistan.

Pakistan's Mohammad Amir reacts
Pakistan's Mohammad Amir reacts after a delivery. Image Credit: AFP
Indian supporters at India Club in Dubai cheer their team. Video by: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

Ultra Edge shows Kohli is not out

Shyam A. Krishna: Kohli’s not out. That’s what Ultra Edge shows. Wonder why he didn’t go for the referral. Very strange. 319/5 in 48.2 overs.

Ashfaq Ahmed: Yes the reply shows he was not out. But Kohli walked out of even before the Umpire raised his finger. Probably, he was scared of Amir? Just kidding.

Satish: Strange why Kohli did not go for a referral. Anyways Pakistan will take it. Again Wahab Riaz has been inconsistent. Bowled a few very good deliveries and backing with length or short balls.. Sarfaraz drops Vijay Shankar off Amir.. Pakistan will want Vijay Shankar to remain…

India's captain Virat Kohli
India's captain Virat Kohli reacts as he walks back to the pavilion after his dismissal. Image Credit: AFP

Two overs to go

Satish: Well done Pakistan. Keep bowling the back of length. Difficult to score boundaries. Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Amir are masters at it.. Two more overs to go…

Chiranjib: Losing Kohli is a huge blow at this stage for India. Pakistan have somewhat redeemed themselves in the death overs – a great comeback. Let’s see what the next 12 balls have in store.

Leslie Wilson Jr: Not to sure how important Kholi’s wicket was Pakistan, with just a couple of overs remaining. India still have a healthy looking total which will be difficult to chase. Pakistan are not the best chasers, but again you can’t doubt their spirit, particularly playing against India…

Indian and Pakistani supporters enjoy the match at The Rose & Crown in Dubai. Video by: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Captain gone

Shyam A. Krishna: Kohli out for 77. Amir gets him again. Slog overs yet to catch fire. This wicket would stymie India’s charge. 314/5 in 47.4 overs

Ashfaq Ahmed: Did you also watch Sarfraz yawning behind the wickets? It says it all, he is so relaxed and that is why he got Kohli catch. Keep yawning Sarfraz. Expect some fierce bowling display by Amir and Wahab in the next three overs. Come on Pakistan.

Match resumes

Chiranjib: Play resumes, with 20 more balls to follow. Can India get another 30-40 runs on board? 340 would be a good total for Pakistan to chase.

Satish: From here how Kohli handles is the key. Pakistan need to get his wicket, then they will be chasing at least 20 runs short.

Rain stops, no overs lost

The umpires are checking a few patches inside the 30-yard circle. The stumps have been put in too. Full game on. Mid-innings break has been reduced to 15 minutes.

Fans with umbrellas at Old Trafford as it starts to rain
Fans with umbrellas at Old Trafford as it starts to rain. Image Credit: Reuters

Will Pakistan come back?

Satish: It is an agonising wait for the players. Indian players would be eager to continue from where they left, while it will be a timely gift for Pakistan. A Twenty20 game will be the one that will favour Sarfaraz Ahmad’s team as they are loaded with hitters right down the order.

Leslie Wilson Jr: There must be a lot of discussions going in the rival dressing rooms following the rain stoppage at Old Trafford. India may have batted themselves into a dominant position posting a total of 305/4 in 46.4 overs. But the betting markets tell a different story. A lot of money coming in for Pakistan to pull it out of the fire!

Chiranjib: So Vijay (3D) Shankar has scored three precious runs from the six balls he faced, and almost got himself out. That was before rain stopped play. Wonder what all that fuss was about when the Indian cricket board’s chief selector MSK Prasad went on record to explain why the three-dimensional talent was a preferred selection over Ambati Rayudu for the No. 4 slot in the squad for the World Cup. So far he has been one dimensional!

Umbrellas are up in the crowd as rain stops play
Umbrellas are up in the crowd as rain stops play. Image Credit: AFP

Duckworth-Lewis-turn: Law on the cards

The covers and floodlights are on as rain stops play
The covers and floodlights are on as rain stops play. Image Credit: AFP

Rain stops play

Shyam A. Krishna: Rain has come. Players are off the field. What a damper. Duckworth Lewis will be back. In that case, India should be better off. 305/4 in 46.4 overs. Kohli 71 Not Out.

Satish: Interesting to know if Duckworth/Lewis will come into play… Are the umpires going to dock the overs or wait for the rains to stop and continue… It’s anybody’s guess. Let’s wait…

Ashfaq Ahmed: I told you guys earlier that India won’t be able to reach 350 runs. Tide is now turning in favour of Pakistan. Don’t expect the rain spoil the game. It is just a small break to ponder.

Leslie Wilson: The thing cricket fans were fearing the most, the rain, has started at Old Trafford. The question on everyone’s mind must be will this force the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method into play. It’s never the best way to decide an intense match like thos. Feeling disappointed.

India's captain Virat Kohli walks back to the pavilion as rain stops play
India's captain Virat Kohli walks back to the pavilion as rain stops play. Image Credit: AFP

Back to back wickets fall

Shyam A. Krishna: Two quick wickets. Hardik Pandya and MS Dhoni gone. Amir strikes twice. That will briefly slow the scoring. 350 suddenly looks remote. 298/4 In 45.2 overs.

Satish: Well done Kohli. The Indian skipper has scored 11,000 runs in ODI. What a contrast, Vijay Shankar scores his first runs in World Cup. Way to go. But it’s not going to be easy for the batsmen. You never know, the rate at which he can change the game, Kohli could even score a century…

Ashfaq Ahmed: Pakistan is back in the game as a I predicted. It would be tough for India to reach the magical 350 runs. Amir strikes and he will is still on — watch out.

Chiranjib: It’s now actually drizzling. Is the best yet to come for Pakistan? They have pulled thing back a bit here – and the 350-360 doesn’t look gettable for India now. The last three overs hold the key to who will win this epic game.

India's Virat Kohli plays a shot
India's Virat Kohli plays a shot. Image Credit: Reuters

They should have listened to Imran Khan

Shyam A. Krishna: Kohli is going for his shots. And if Hadik Pandya too gets going, Pakistan will be in serious trouble. 262/2 in 42.2 overs.

Satish: If it doesn’t rain in the next 30 to 40 minutes, winning the toss is actually not a boon but a bane for Sarfaraz. He must me rueing his decision not to listen to the World Cup-winning captain Imran Khan and put India in to bat…

Ashfaq Ahmed: Come on boys, match is still on. Now Amir and Wahab are about to start their death overs. Watch the wickets flying.

Spectators cheer during the match
Spectators cheer during the match. Image Credit: AFP

Rohit Sharma falls

Shyam A. Krishna: Rohit out when he was stepping on the gas. He’s furious. Just after a screaming boundary, he has gifted it. India would have loved to have him at the business end. Hardik Pandya in. Running between the wicket picks up. 238/2 in 39 overs.

Satish: Yes. The wicket of Rohit Sharma. Pakistan will be able to capitalize on the breakthough. Key is getting Hardik Pandya out early. If he gets 10 runs, then he can make Pakistan pay dearly. Come on, couple more wickets. Vijay Shankar has to wait…

Ashfaq Ahmed: That’s what I was talking about. Pakistani bowlers are going to make Indian batsmen’s life difficult in the last 10 overs. My colleagues are a bit over confident.

Pakistan's Hasan Ali, left, celebrates the dismissal of India's Rohit Sharma
Pakistan's Hasan Ali, left, celebrates the dismissal of India's Rohit Sharma. Image Credit: AP
India's Rohit Sharma celebrates his century with Virat Kohli
India's Rohit Sharma celebrates his century with Virat Kohli. Image Credit: Reuters

It's raining runs at Old Trafford

Shyam A. Krishna: It’s spinning. Imad is getting good purchase. Shadab did turn a couple of deliveries very well. Indian spinners will be rubbing their hands in glee. India hasn’t been able to shift gears as yet. Rohit still picking boundariesas usual. Last 10 overs coming up soon. 225/1 in 37.2 overs, Rohit 132 Not Out.

Chiranjib: So it’s raining heavily in Old Trafford – in the form of runs from the Hitman’s bat. Take a bow – Rohit Sharma becomes first Indian batsman to score consecutive ODI centuries against Pakistan. Will he convert this to a double century? The Sea of Blue in Manchester certainly hope so!

Ashfaq Ahmed: Are you dreaming Chiranjib and Shyam? Amir and Wahab are going to rip through the Indian batting in the last 10 overs. Keep watching.

Satish: Now with Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Amir bowling more around the wickets, they need to be careful not to run on the wicket and damage the pitch. Firstly, both have one official warnings each and creating holes will help the Indian spinner Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal to gain extra advantage bowling on the footmarks.

Pakistan's Imad Wasim delivers a ball
Pakistan's Imad Wasim delivers a ball. Image Credit: AFP

Should Sarfaraz have listened to Imran Khan

Shyam A. Krishna: 200 up for India. Rohit still going strong. Haven’t accelerated as yet. That boundary of Shadab was good. 202/1 in 34.4 overs.

Leslie Wilson Jr: Less than 15 overs remaining as we race to the slog with Rohit and Kholi, the two most feared batsmen in the world at the crease. Sarfaraz has only Amir to fall back on for a reprieve… the rest of the bowlers have performed below standard.

Ashfaq Ahmed: Wow, should Sarfraz have listened to his Prime Minister Imran Khan who suggested to win the toss and bat first. His decision to bat first after winning the toss is turning out to be the worst decision of his life.

Rohit Sharma sparkles

Shyam A. Krishna: 24th ODI Ton up for Rohit Sharma. He looks to make it count. Remember he always scores big tons. Pakistan got to be careful. Kohli looks solid. Good to get Amir back in the attack. Pakistan need wickets. But they are not coming as yet. 171/1 In 30 overs.

Ashfaq Ahmed: It is time for Pakistan to choke India as Pakistani bowlers should restrict India below 300. It looks like a dream but can be achieved.

Leslie Wilson Jr: I recalled a boxing expression earlier in the match…. Now I’m going to use one from horse racing… with India galloping towards a mammoth total. I would say anything above 350, with the way they’re going right now – 191/1 in 33 overs!

Satish: Tamil connection in play. Vijay Shankar talking to bowling coach Bharat Arun and flanked by former state left-arm spinner Sunil Subramaniam on the other side. Perfect preparation…

India's Rohit Sharma celebrates after scoring a century
India's Rohit Sharma celebrates after scoring a century. Image Credit: AFP

Chiranjib: Did someone say it was going to rain today in Manchester? India obviously will be wary of the Duckworth-Lewis method coming into effect during Pakistan’s innings – in case it does. So all the more reason for India to keep scoring as briskly as they can. But as of now, the sun and Indian fans are smiling all the way at Old Trafford.

Satish: Good move to bring back Amir into the attack. Now Pakistan need to strike back and capitalize on the nervous 90s of Rohit Sharma.

India and Pakistan supporters cheer on their teams
India and Pakistan supporters cheer on their teams. Image Credit: AFP

Half way through

Shyam: It’s now or never for Pakistan. Midway point. 25 overs up. Rohit Sharma batting 91 and Virat Kohli on 3. Unless Pakistan takes a few quick wickets now, they would find it very difficult to get back into the match. 157/1 off 26.2 overs.

Chiranjib: The way India is batting at the moment, it doesn’t look like Bumrah and the rest of tail will need to bat. But Pakistan have just smelled blood – can they rip into the flesh now? Kohli is settling in and Rohit is heading for his century.

Leslie Wilson Jr: Rohit Sharma looks like a man in a hurry, like he has some shopping to do at Harrods. Crack a huge six over point to race towards his century. Six number two for the dashing opener. Sarfaraz looking more frustrated. Don’t blame him!

Ashfaq Ahmed: Don’t be so excited India. It is just a midway point. There is plenty of game left.

Satish: Rohit Sharma closing in on a well-deserved century. Once again he has proved that he belongs to a different class. Standing tall in high-voltage clash.

India's captain Virat Kohli plays a shot
India's captain Virat Kohli plays a shot. Image Credit: AP

Minor setback for India

Satish: Sarfaraz falls back on Pakistan’s strike bowlers after experimenting with Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik. Riaz and Ali bowling in tandem against Rohit Sharma and skipper Virat Kohli.

Leslie Wilson Jr: Minor setback for India, with the fall of the first wicket. Which brings the world’s No 1 batsman, Virat Kholi on to the stage. It will be interesting to see what plan Pakistan have devised to restrain such a free-hitting batsman.

Ashfaq Ahmed: India’s downfall has started with Wahab getting in to rhythm. It’s interesting to see how fast Pakistan gets Kohli out. Game on.

Pakistan's Wahab Riaz
Pakistan's Wahab Riaz (C) celebrates with teammates after the dismissal of India's K.L. Rahul. Image Credit: AFP

The breakthrough

Satish: Pakistan get the much-needed breakthrough. Wahab Riaz strikes. Rahul goes for 57 as Kohli marches in

India and Pakistan supporters cheer on their teams
India and Pakistan supporters cheer on their teams. Image Credit: AFP

Horrendous running between wickets

Chiranjib: Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez – the double change didn’t work for Pakistan. And whenever Indian openers have posted a century stand in ODI World Cup, India has won 6 of 7 games. Be wary of Rohit Sharma’s heaving across the wickets though. Is he having trouble running between the wickets today?

Satish: After keeping Rohit and Rahul in check for five overs, introduction of Shoaib MalIk has eased the pressure on India. 123/0 in 22 overs

Is Pakistan adrift?

Shyam A. Krishna and A.K. Satish: 100 up off 107 balls. First hour to India. Negated the threat of early swing. Pitch looks a belter. Bit of help for finger spin. 101/0 in 18 overs.

Ashfaq Ahmed: Don’t be so happy India. Pakistan has a lot of hidden tricks in the bag. Spinners will do the magic now and soon Amir and Wahab will come back when the ball gets old. I am hoping tough time for Indian batsman ahead. But hello Sarfraz … keep calm.

Leslie Wilson Jr: I’ve just had a peak at the live betting with all the major markets in England. All the money is pouring in on India while Pakistan are drifting, drifting, drifting. So, going by what the betters think, it’s not looking good for Pakistan who are looking for a maiden victory over India in the ICC Cricket World Cup!

Good start for India

Shyam A. Krishna: Imad Wasim pulled it back with a superb over. Just one run. Pakistan needed that after Shadab leaked 17 in his first over. 80/0 in 13 overs.

Ashfaq Ahmed: Since India managed to see of fast bowlers with a good game plan, Pakistanis spinners now up for a game. Hopefully, Imad and Shaddab can make some breakthrough to give Pakistani audience something to enjoy.

Leslie Wilson Jr: I wouldn’t like to be in Sarfaraz’s cricket shoes. He must be desperate to break the opening Indian partnership, which is looking more confident ever, by over. With this foundation India must be looking at a score of over 300 runs.

Indian supporters cheer
Indian supporters cheer. Image Credit: AFP

India batting cruises

Shyam A. Krishna: Rohit and Rahul breaking free with some good strokes. Rohit completes 50 off 34 balls. A six too, off Shadab khan. But some help for spin. One ball from Imad Wasim gripped and spun. 79/0 in 12 overs.

Leslie Wilson Jr: If this was a boxing match… India have won the opening rounds in quite convincing fashion. Pakistan on the back foot, thanks to two missed run-outs. The sun is out but remember – catches win matches and so do run-out. Pakistan need to turn it on…. They’re not doing it so far.

Ashfaq Ahmed: Hi Pakistan team, remember your Prime Minister Imran Khan’s advice “Banish the fear of losing’. Do not panic in the field. Hold your nerves and calm down. It goes without saying that the first 12 overs belong to India.

Chiranjib Sengupta: Who will get the first breakthrough for Pakistan? Four bowlers tried so far – and no luck. At this rate the score predictor says India will score 342 runs – that would be a formidable total for Pakistan to chase. These are early days, but the game is swinging India’s way.

India's Rohit Sharma
India's Rohit Sharma, right, raises his bat to celebrate scoring fifty runs. Image Credit: AP
Pakistan's Wahab Riaz
Pakistan's Wahab Riaz, right, reacts after India's K.L. Rahul, left, played a shot on his delivery. Image Credit: AP
India's Rohit Sharma bats during the match
India's Rohit Sharma bats during the match. Image Credit: AP

Pakistan need a wicket

Shyam A. Krishna: Spin is in through Imad Wasim. Which must be encouraging for the Indians. That means they have seen off the initial threat of Amir. Wahad still searching for rhythm. Caution is still the watchword for the Indians. 46/0 in 9 overs.

Leslie Wilson J: Good start by India… whichever way you look at it. Pakistan forced to fall back on their spinners for the initial breakthrough. With the moisture still very much present at Old Trafford, it will be interesting to see just how well they cope with a damp ball.

Ashfaq Ahmed: Can someone get a wicket? Pakistan brought change in bowling hoping to get Rohit out. Missed a big run out, signs of tension in the field.

India's K.L. Rahul, left, and Rohit Sharma run between wickets
India's K.L. Rahul, left, and Rohit Sharma run between wickets. Image Credit: AP

Batting not easy

Shyam Krishna: Game yet to catch fire. Still sedate. Much like the weather. Couple of good shots and and inside edge. Amir running on the pitch is only point of excitement. 32/0 in 6 over

Leslie Wilson Jr: I think that Sharma and Rahul have stuck to the task so far, despite the odd edges. Batting is never going to be easy under such conditions, so it is important not to throw away early wickets and vindicate Pakistan winning a ‘good toss’. Still a long way to go, let’s wait and see….

Ashfaq Ahmed: Can Indian batsmen dare to hit Amir as well? We need some wickets to make it interesting.

Pakistan's Mohammad Amir reacts during the matc
Pakistan's Mohammad Amir reacts during the match. Image Credit: Reuters

India and Pakistan fans
India and Pakistan fans before the match. Image Credit: Reuters

Amir on the prowl

Shyam Krishna: Quiet start is understandable, given the conditions. What I like is that there is not much nerves from both sides. 9/0 in 2 overs

Leslie Wilson: Given the massive build-up to the match, you would expect both India and Pakistan to be testing the waters (sorry for the pun) in the opening exchanges. Great atmosphere at Old Trafford, and I’m sure we’re in for a cracker!

Ashfaq Ahmed: Amir is giving tough time. It seems Indian players are going to go easy on him.

India's K.L. Rahul bats
India's K.L. Rahul bats during the match at Old Trafford in Manchester. Image Credit: AP
Pakistan and India teams come
Pakistan and India teams come out for the group stage match at Old Trafford in Manchester. Image Credit: AFP

Toss favours Pakistan: No prizes for guessing that Sarfaraz Ahmad choses to field under overcast conditions. Pakistan play two spinners Shadab Khan and Imad Wasimm while Vijay Shankar comes in place of Shikhar Dhawan for India.

Merchandise for sale outside the ground in Old Trafford
Merchandise for sale outside the ground in Old Trafford, Manchester, before the match. Image Credit: Reuters

India and Pakistan meet in the Cricket World Cup 2019 today. Why is the match at Old Trafford special? It’s the clash of archrivals – neighbours and nuclear-armed countries that share one of the most hostile borders in the world. So it’s a tie that outranks the Ashes – the Test series between traditional rivals England and Australia.

The passion and frenzy surrounding an India-Pakistan game in any format are unmatched. Simply because they don’t play enough. Given the thorny relationship between the two countries, their encounters are limited to international tournaments. So any match between India and Pakistan becomes a marquee event.

Today, a global television audience of more than a billion are expected to tune into the match in Manchester. If the two countries do not progress to the semifinals, this could well be their last clash in a while.

India-Pakistan matches are always billed as high-octane clashes. But they rarely are, given the enormous pressure on players. The games are usually won by the team that keeps their emotions in check. It will be no different today.

Indian supporters pose ahead of the match at Old Trafford in Manchester
Indian supporters pose ahead of the match at Old Trafford in Manchester. Image Credit: AFP

India have remained unbeaten in World Cups so far. Can Pakistan snap India’s win streak?

Find out by following the Gulf News coverage with our cricket panel of Ashfaq Ahmed, Leslie Wilson Jr. and Shyam A. Krishna, who will keep you engrossed with their analysis. And our Assistant Editor Chiranjib Sengupta also takes you through live analysis with the cricket panel on our Gulf News Facebook page.

Pakistan fans dance as they arrive before the start of the match outside Old Trafford
Pakistan fans dance as they arrive before the start of the match outside Old Trafford in Manchester. Image Credit: AP

Our Sports Editor Gautam Bhattacharyya will take you through the game via twitter handle @gulfnewssport

We will also have live analysis on our Gulf News Facebook page.

May the best team win.