The two teams play each other for the first time since the World Cup clash in Mohali last year, won by the hosts, with a lot more than just pride at stake.
India will be keen to bounce back after a stunning defeat against Bangladesh in the match on Friday, which also saw Sachin Tendulkar finally getting his 100th international hundred.
Meanwhile, Pakistan will be aiming to continue their unbeaten run in the tournament and a win over India will confirm their place in the final.
Misbahul Haq, who has faced criticism for a painstakingly slow innings in the semi-final against India, will be keen to set the record straight as captain.
While the 37-year-old played down talk of revenge, Misbah was eager to record a win.
“We all know that it’s going to be a big match,” said Misbah. “But we are not looking at it as a chance to take revenge for our World Cup semi-final defeat in Mohali.
“The World Cup is now gone and done with. Our batting did not click that day. We must focus on the coming match.”
However, Misbah added that the team will not disappoint its fans who are as eager to witness the battle.
“It’s an important game for us. Fans wait for a Pakistan-India game and we will not disappoint them. We will try and give our best.”
Meanwhile, team manager Naveed Akram Cheema played down the hype and was focusing on the result of the game.
“All the players are charged up,” Cheema told The Express Tribune. “Their morale is high and victories in the opening games have given them confidence.
“We’re not going with an aim to avenge our defeat but to win like the rest of the matches.”
Batting needs to strike form
However, a worry for Pakistan will be the inconsistent run of their batsmen. After a superb opening stand in the match against Bangladesh, the middle-order collapsed, handing the responsibility to Umar Gul who obliged with a 25-ball 39.
Gul and Ajmal made sure the total was just enough before the Pakistan bowlers maintained their supremacy over Sri Lanka in the next match. However, the top-order failed in the run-chase before Misbah and Umar Akmal guided the team past the finish line.
While both matches were won by Pakistan, questions were raised over the team’s continued inconsistency in the batting department.
India, on the other hand, have problems with their bowling attack going for plenty against Bangladesh, looking anything but threatening on the slow Bangladesh pitches.
The battle may be between Pakistan bowlers and India batsmen, it will be the former’s batsmen that need to shine to sway the match in their team’s favour.
“Pakistan have to be the favourites against India. They’re stronger even than the Australians in Bangladesh conditions. They’ve shown good form in the tournament compared to India who lost to Bangladesh.”
“Pakistan started shakily against Bangladesh. But their win against Sri Lanka was phenomenal which has given them confidence. If India have a good batting line-up then Pakistan have match-winning bowlers so it’ll be a good contest.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 18th, 2012.