Asia Cup 2012: Top battles to watch out for
With the 11th edition of the Asia Cup about to get underway next month individual clashes are expected to spice up the intense battle between the teams.
Shahid Afridi and Gautam Gambhir have had encounters in the past with neither of them willing to pull out of any confrontation. At some point, their paths are likely to cross and the result might be the turning point of the highly-anticipated India-Pakistan matches.
Virender Sehwag is most dangerous at the start of the innings and once he gets going, it doesn't take him long to demoralise a bowling attack. Lasith Malinga is very effective with his yorkers and his unusual action makes him that more dangerous.
Tamim Iqbal has built a reputation of being an aggressive opening batsman. Canny paceman Zaheer Khan has a tendency of getting early wickets which make the battle between the two an exciting prospect.The two have clashed before back in the 2007 World Cup and expect another contest when they face off in the upcoming Asia Cup.
Misbah-ul Haq is the lynch pin of Pakistan's lower middle order and is often the difference between victory and defeat. Rubel Hossaine with his mix of pace can cause set batsmen a great deal of worry.
It will be India's middle order which will be up against the spin of Sri Lanka as Suresh Raina's battle with Rangana Herath will be the one to watch out for. Whoever gets the upper hand could determine the outcome of the game.
One of the few veterans left in the Pakistan team,Younis Khan has been instrumental in helping his team achieve big scores. Shakib Al Hasan has always been an effective weapon on turning tracks and should their paths cross be ready for a showdown. Neither of the two are expected to give an inch to the opposing side and it might be an important passage of play when the two are concerned.
The fulcrum of India's batting order pitted against Pakistan's leading bowler. Umar Gul has had the better of Sachin Tendulkar in the past but the little master also has taken him for runs. Sachin will look to set himself up for a big score while Gul's thirst for wickets makes him a force to reckon with early on in the innings.
Kumar Sangakkara has a reputation to provide Sri Lanka the ideal launch pad for big totals. But to counter him, Bangladesh have the left arm spin of Abdur Razzak whose slow spinning deliveries could make life difficult in home conditions.
Nuwan Kulasekara has been a good find for Sri Lanka since the absence of Chaminda Vaas. His ability to surprise batsmen by his change of pace make him a tough customer to deal with. Asad Shafiq is Pakistan's 'new kid on the block' who is expected to have a good run.