POTCHEFSTROOM                 -          India’s highest score this World Cup is 297. Pakistan’s is 294. India have taken 40 wickets in four games. Pakistan have taken 39. And that might’ve been 40 too, had their group stage game not been abandoned with Bangladesh at 106 for 9.

Pakistan captain Rohail Nazir has beaten an Indian team before. He did it as a teenager while captaining the U-23 side at the ACC Emerging Cup last year, where Pakistan knocked India out in the semifinal. Among the 11 Pakistan players who will take the field today (Tuesday), Nazir is the only player to have featured in the 2018 World Cup semifinal defeat against India. Nazir said he dropped a catch early on in Shubman Gill’s innings that allowed him to score a hundred and take the game away from Pakistan. This time, he vows to not make that same mistake.

As for India, “process” is the one word that rings through the camp. Despite being pushed into a corner against Australia’s bowlers, their allrounders dragged them out of a difficult situation by looking to bat through till the 50th over. The last time both sides faced, once again at an ACC Emerging Cup competition - although this was for U-19s - it was India who won by 60 runs last year. Barring that batting wobble, there is nothing else that is gone wrong for the side in the World Cup.

There’s not much to separate both sides, so the flimsy ground on which India have an edge is evidence from past World Cups. Pakistan’s U-19s haven’t beaten India at a World Cup since 2010 and as a unit have come together far later than the current India U-19s. And then there’s the bowling departments. Like India, Pakistan have a left-arm seamer, a right-arm quick and a handy left-arm orthodox bowler within their ranks. But what they lack is a frontline wristspinner, which India’s Ravi Bishnoi is. On a used and tired Potchefstroom pitch, that may be the difference between the two sides. It’s expected to be the most-watched World Cup game so far. It will probably have higher a viewership than the final. In recent history, India-Pakistan games have not lived up to their hype.

India opener Yashasvi Jaiswal, is by far, their most successful batsman in this tournament, scoring three fifties at an average of 103.50. His wicket will be key for Pakistan, since India’s second-highest run-scorer in the tournament - Diyaansh Saxena - has made only 89 runs. If Jaiswal can anchor through, then the remainder of India’s batting order can play around him. If he fails, the pressure shifts to a relatively untested Indian batting order.

Pakistan’s left-arm quick Tahir Hussain is an unknown quantity for India. He was a late replacement for Naseem Shah in the squad and was discovered just months before the tournament, after being spotted by coach Ijaz Ahmed while he was a net bowler to the U-19 national team. The left-arm seamer can move the ball to move both ways - both in the air and off the deck - and poses a danger both with the new and old ball.

Potchefstroom receives showers nearly everyday, and tournament rules say India will go through - because of more group stage wins - in case the game is washed out, but the chances of rain are only 20%. The pitch is a tired one, and team totals have fallen as the tournament has progressed. Batting conditions are tricky with the new ball and spinners get considerable purchase with the older ball. Both sides are injury-free and are likely to go unchanged from their quarterfinal wins.

PAKISTAN (likely) : Haider Ali, Mohammad Huraira, Rohail Nazir (captain, wicketkeeper), Fahad Munir, Qasim Akram, Mohammad Haris, Irfan Khan, Abbas Afridi, Tahir Hussain, Amir Ali, Mohammad Amir Khan.

INDIA (likely): Yashasvi Jaiswal, Divyaansh Saxena, Tilak Verma, Priyam Garg (captain), Dhruv Jurel (wk), Siddhesh Veer, Atharva Ankolekar, Ravi Bishnoi, Sushant Mishra, Kartik Tyagi, Akash Singh.