There is this thing before and during India-Pakistan matches that make them so publicized. There is nothing such as underplaying the build-up of an India-Pakistan contest. Even sans sensationalizing the event, it ends up accumulating a significant amount of ballyhoo.
Both teams will be seen locking horns against each other in the fifth match of the Asia Cup on September 19 at Dubai. As expected, the buzz regarding the match is already to be felt.
The fact that India will be playing this match in Virat Kohli’s absence has had no influence on people’s expectation out of this match which clearly speaks about the significance of this battle. Speaking of Kohli’s absence, one person who is likely to have an increased workload in the series is Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
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Being the senior-most player in the side, the former captain and current wicket-keeper batsman will have to come good to increase India’s chances of winning the title. Speaking of which, talking on Dhoni’s numbers against Pakistan becomes a necessity.
In the 33 ODIs that Dhoni has played against Pakistan, he has scored 1,230 runs at an average of 55.90 and a strike rate of 90.50, which also includes two centuries and nine half-centuries.
Since the upcoming tournament is the Asia Cup (played in Asia), the Indian team would be anticipating Dhoni to cause that extra havoc for his record against Pakistan in Asia is even better. In the 28 matches that Dhoni has played against Pakistan in Asia, he has scored 1,205 runs at an average of 63.42 and a strike rate of 91.21.
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Having played under Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma will be Dhoni’s fourth captain to captain him against Pakistan. In the matches against Pakistan where he hasn’t been the captain, Dhoni had scored 546 runs in 13 innings at an average of 54.60 and a strike rate of 103.01.
Dhoni’s numbers against Pakistan while chasing are slightly better than setting a total. In the second innings, Dhoni averages 68.25 and strikes at 91.30. Whereas, while batting first, he averages 48.85 and strikes at 89.88.
In four Asia Cup matches against them, Dhoni has scored 162 runs at an average of 81 and a strike rate of 81.81.
Despite his impressive record against Pakistan, there are also a few facets which go Pakistan’s way. Dhoni’s record against Pakistan on neutral venues doesn’t promise much. With this match being played in Dubai (neutral venue), this is a stat which is likely to boost Pakistan ahead of the upcoming match as Dhoni has played 11 ODIs against them, scoring 235 runs at an average of 29.37 and a strike rate of 85.76.
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In the eight matches that Dhoni has played against Pakistan in a 5+ team tournament, Dhoni’s 152 runs have come at a below par average of 30.40 and a strike rate of 73.78. We had earlier written a piece regarding Dhoni batting at No. 5 in this tournament. At No. 5 against Pakistan, Dhoni has scored 176 runs in six matches at a decent average of 35.20 and a strike rate of 81.48.
Feats which Dhoni can achieve against Pakistan in this Asia Cup:
1. Entering the list of most dismissals – Dhoni is currently sixth on the list of most dismissals by a wicket-keeper against Pakistan in ODIs. Dhoni, who has 40 dismissals against Pakistan to his name, needs five more to surpass Adam Gilchrist (44) and six more to come at No. 4 in place of Jeff Dujon (46).
2. Most runs by a wicket-keeper (Minimum 50 ODIs as wicket-keeper) – Behind Rahul Dravid, Kumar Sangakkara and AB de Villiers, Dhoni is currently fourth on the list of most ODI runs by a wicket-keeper against Pakistan. Dhoni needs 193 runs to surpass de Villiers (1,423 runs) on this list.
3. Most runs by an Indian – Dhoni is currently sixth on the list of most runs by an Indian batsman against Pakistan. If he scores 130 runs in this tourney against them, he will outdo Yuvraj Singh at the fifth spot. Having scored 2,526 runs in 69 matches at an average of 40.09 and a strike rate of 87.49, Sachin Tendulkar tops this list.
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