India opt to bowl, Rahane replaces injured Dhawan

Toss: India chose to bowl v Pakistan
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Ajinkya Rahane came in for an injured Shikhar Dhawan in India’s only change © AFP

On a pitch that had a “bit more grass” than India’s opening game at the Asia Cup, MS Dhoni won the toss and opted to bowl. That went down fine with the Pakistan camp because Shahid Afridi, about to complete 20 years in international cricket, said all the discussions among their team after having seen the pitch in Mirpur was about batting first.

India had to make one forced change with Shikhar Dhawan nursing a niggle. Ajinkya Rahane comes in to take his place at the top of the order. The rest of the XI that played Bangladesh on Wednesday retained their places.

Afridi will take on the duties of the lead spin bowler for Pakistan after going in with “four genuine fast bowlers.” They are Mohammad Sami, who last played for Pakistan in May 2015, and the left-arm trio of Mohammad Irfan, Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Amir.

Opening batsman Khurram Manzoor has earned himself a T20I debut on the back of some good recent form. He struck a century against England Lions in January, prior to which he had made back-to-back tons in the domestic one-day competition. Sharjeel Khan, the first and only centurion of the recently-concluded PSL, is listed to partner him at the top of the order. Both will have their task cut out on this Mirpur deck, however, which both captains agreed would deck around at the start.

India: 1 Ajinkya Rahane, 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Suresh Raina, 5 Yuvraj Singh, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 8 Ravindra Jadeja, 9 R Ashwin, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Ashish Nehra

Pakistan: Khurram Manzoor, 2 Sharjeel Khan, 3 Mohammad Hafeez, 3 Umar Akmal, 4 Shoaib Malik, 5 Khurram Manzoor, 6 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), 7 Shahid Afridi (capt), 8 Mohammad Sami, 9 Wahab Riaz, 10 Mohammad Amir, 11 Mohammad Irfan

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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