India have a score to settle

India have a score to settle

Asia Cup: India vs Pak

ALL SET: Meeting Pakistan for the first time since the defeat in Champions Trophy last June, India will be hoping to exact some revenge on Wednesday. PTI

Rival captains Sarfraz Ahmed and Rohit Sharma played down the hype surrounding the much-awaited India-Pakistan clash in Dubai on Wednesday, insisting that the Asia Cup is much more than a contest between the arch-rivals.

But despite their claims, millions of fans across the border and elsewhere in the world will be watching the Group A clash, with a sold-out 25,000-crowd expected at Dubai Stadium.

The game is the first between the sub-continent rivals since Pakistan thumped India by 180 runs in the final of the Champions Trophy at The Oval in June last year.

The two teams are facing each other for the first time in the United Arab Emirates since 2006, the last of their regular matches which were also held in Sharjah between 1984-2000.

Sarfraz, who led Pakistan in that memorable Champions Trophy triumph, denied that his team will have a psychological advantage.

"We will not take that Champions Trophy win in our minds," said Sarfraz on Monday, a day after his team thumped qualifiers Hong Kong in their first match of the tournament.

"That was a different atmosphere (in London) and conditions. It was a year ago so that's history so we will enter the ground with a new strategy and passion."

India's regular captain Virat Kohli has been rested for the competition to help his aching back after a gruelling tour of England. But Sarfraz refused to accept Kohli's absence will make much difference.

"No doubt he (Kohli) is their captain and a world-class batsman but I think they (India) have a good team even without Kohli.

"They have good players who have done well for India. So I don't think it will make much difference to India. Their batting is very strong so I can say that it will be a good match."

India have won the event -- which started in 1984 -- six times, while Pakistan have been champions twice.

With two teams from each group qualify for the Super Four stage, India and Pakistan will also face off again in the Super Four on September 23, barring any upsets.

India skipper Rohit said his team will be looking beyond Pakistan. "It's always exciting to play Pakistan, but it's not about one team as well. There are other teams also eyeing the title."

All six teams have to endure extreme hot conditions in the UAE, with the temperature scaling to over 40 degrees Celsius and expected to rise further in the coming days.

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