Former cricketer Salman Butt said that the opening spell of Shaheen Shah Afridi will define how the Asia Cup 2023 match between India and Pakistan is going to pan out on Saturday, September 2 at the Pallekele International Stadium.
Shaheen is known for his opening burst with the new ball in white-ball cricket. Even in Pakistan’s opening match against Pakistan, the left-arm pacer got the wickets of Kushal Bhurtel and Rohit Paudel at the Multan Cricket Stadium.
Butt said that if Shaheen manages to pick up a couple of early wickets, India will be feeling the heat.
“Shaheen’s opening spell will hold a lot of importance in the context of the game. India also know the importance of the first three to four overs that he bowls. It’s not only that Shaheen is good. Others also have the potential to pick wickets.
“But there will be a lot of weightage on Shaheen’s opening spell. If he picks up a couple of wickets, India will be under pressure,” Butt was quoted as saying on his YouTube channel.
Butt, who last played for Pakistan more than a decade ago, also said that Pakistan need to post a big score on the board to challenge the Indian batting unit.
“Pakistan have to look to score over 320 runs. India have a strong batting line-up and Pakistan need a lot of runs if they bat first. The wickets of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are big. Others are also good, but those two batters are more valuable,” he added.
Pakistan will go into the match after beating Nepal by 238 runs following Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed’s twin centuries. After setting a target of 343 for Nepal to chase down, the Men in Green shot their opponents out for 104.