NEW DELHI: The most eagerly awaited match of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 between India and Pakistan will be played on Saturday in Ahmedabad and the former India head coach Ravi Shastri decoded what brings the biggest threat and which player can be an X factor for the hosts.
Shastri reckons that Pakistan pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi could prove to be decisive in deciding the result of the high-octane clash.”I think Shaheen Shah Afridi against the Indian openers (is important),” Shastri told ICC.
“It’s a given that that’s going to be the test, that it’s going to be the challenge. Whoever wins that will go a long way towards dictating terms in that game.”

The left-arm quick Afridi wreaked havoc by dismissing the Indian openers during the 2021 T20 World Cup match when Shastri was at the helm.

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Former India captain Shastri also believes the Indian speedster Jasprit Bumrah is the X-fator and will create troubles for the opposition batters if he gets going.
“I think Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj, because we know Bumrah is an x-factor, and if he gets it right he’ll be a thrill to watch. And Siraj I think has come of age. He’s one of the most improved bowlers in world cricket, and can do wonderful things with the ball, it comes naturally to him. He can swing it, he can seam it, he’s got a great seam presentation. So I think these two will be great to watch if they’re on song,” he said.


Indian skipper Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli both hit the purple patch in the World Cup playing match-winning knocks in the first two matches and Shastri opines if any of the two batters gets a hundred, score over a 300 will be in touching distance.

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“I think at the top, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli will be key. If they both get going and one gets a hundred, I emphasise that 300, 320, 330, that is very much a possibility,” Shastri noted.
Shastri termed Sachin Tendulkar’s uppercut against Shoaib Akhtar his stand-out moment from India vs Pakistan meetings of the past.
“Without a shadow of a doubt Sachin Tendulkar’s uppercut against Shoaib Akhtar, because, in a pressure match, played at the Centurion, it’s probably one of the finest innings I’ve seen Sachin play,” he said.

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