New Delhi: Like in any other contest, the big question ahead of today's Asia Cup 2016 match between India-Pakistan match is, which team starts as the favourite. But, we all know predicting any India-Pakistan match is futile.
Thanks to their superior 'current' form and stability in the run up to the tournament, India sure start as the favourites. But as usual, in a match which has got all the makings of a classic, from every known angle -- from sporting to political -- both teams for once start on equal footing.
But still here are things, except the result, that we can expect and also can afford not to expect.
Expect s**t load of comments from our politicos. After all, we are living in a time of heightened nationalism. Any less patriotic showing against the enemy will not be forgiven. A drop catch, or a run-out. No!
What better platform do we have than a cricket match to showcase it. And on either side of the Wagah border, TV channels will run endless numbers of show; dissecting, analysing, performing post-mortems.
Coming to the real battle, bat vs ball, captain vs captain, etc. It's important to understand that these players will try everything to win the match for their respective teams. But there will many be many contest within contest.
Indian top order batsmen will need extra caution negotiating a certain Wahab Riaz and comeback-kid Mohammad Amir. Likewise, Pakistan's top order will have testing times against Ashish Nehra.
In the middle overs, the duel will be more or less confine to the spinners Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Shoaib Malik against batsmen like Virat Kohli, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Suresh Raina etc.
Another aspect which we can't afford to ignore is the roles the two captains -- Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Afridi -- will play in the match. If either of them fails to turn-up, both literally and figuratively, it will be a blow to their respective sides.
Also, both the teams have injected enough young bloods in their ranks. It will interesting how these youngsters perform in possibly the greatest cricket battle in the world. Look out for the likes of Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Sharjeel Khan, Imad Wasim, etc.
But, we can't expect players to sledging, and other un-sporting behaviours.