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India vs Pakistan ACT: Head-to-head, squads, importance and all you need to know | Hockey

India’s bid for a gold medal at the 2023 Men’s Asian Champions Trophy tournament will continue with a big-ticket match against Pakistan in Chennai on Wednesday. Hosting the tournament for the very first time, India’s priority will be to translate strong performances in recent events into proper hardware, and the encounter against Pakistan is an important step as a precursor to the Asian and Olympic Games in the next 12 months.

India vs Pakistan, Asian Champions Trophy 2023
India vs Pakistan, Asian Champions Trophy 2023

India vs Pakistan: Journey so far in Asian Champions Trophy

India are the highest-ranked team in the tournament and have delivered on that billing by remaining the only unbeaten team in the competition after 4 matches. A stifling 1-1 draw against Japan has been the only blemish but India brushed aside China in their opening match 7-2 and demolished a very capable Malaysia team 5-0 in a clinical performance. A late Korean goal provided a tense finish, but the hosts persevered to hold on to a 3-2 victory and take the lead heading into the next round of fixtures.

By contrast, it’s been a mixed bag for Pakistan. Their tournament began with a loss to Malaysia, but draws against South Korea and Japan put them on the board, and a victory over China has put them in a position to seal qualification to the semifinals.

India vs Pakistan: What’s at stake?

A win for Pakistan will guarantee them a spot in the last four stage, but a defeat would leave their fate on the result of the match between China and Japan. If Pakistan lose on Wednesday, they will hope for China to upset Japan. In case Japan wins, the victory of margin should be lesser.

Besides Pakistan would also hope for Malaysia to beat South Korea by a big margin, which would benefit the Men in Green.

With three wins and a draw, India are atop the table with 10 points, followed by Malaysia (9 points), South Korea (5), Pakistan (5), Japan (2) and China (1).

India vs Pakistan ACT 2023: IND vs PAK head-to-head in hockey

India have sealed a top-2 spot in the league table on the back of 5 goals in the tournament so far from captain Harmanpreet Singh, who joined the elite list of players with 150 international goals, becoming the fourth Indian in that list. “It would definitely be a high-intensity tie. We need to be smart and focus on our actual gameplan and our responsibilities. We will stick to our original structure and try to finish better,” said the skipper.

India might be considered favourites heading into this contest given the form they are in and the fact that they are hosts. That Pakistan haven’t beaten India in the tournament since 2016, a period of time during which India have produced 12 wins and 2 draws, may also play a huge role. However, historically, Pakistan have always tended to have the rub of the green over their fierce rivals in international competition, leading the overall head-to-head 82-64 with 32 draws, but the tide has begun to turn in India’s favour of latte.

India have dominated in the Asian Champions Trophy, with a record of 6-2 and 2 draws. This includes the third-place match in the previous edition of the tournament in Dhaka in 2021, which India won. They have also faced off in four finals in the competition, India leading 2-1 in those encounters with one game called off due to inclement weather.

India Squad: PR Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak, Harmanpreet Singh (C), Amit Rohidas, Jarmanpreet Singh, Sumit, Jugraj Singh, Varun Kumar, Hardik Singh (VC), Shamsher Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Manpreet Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Akashdeep Singh, S.Karthi, Gurjant Singh, Sukhjeet Singh, Pawan, Mandeep Singh.

Pakistan Squad: Mohammad Umar Bhutta (captain), Rana Abdul Waheed Ashraf (vice-captain), Akmal Hussain, Abdullah Ishtiaq Khan, Mohammad Abdullah, Mohammad Sufyan Khan, Ehtisham Aslam, Osama Bashir, Aqeel Ahmed, Arshad Liaquat, Mohammad Imad, Abdul Hanan Shahid, Zakaria Hayat, Roman, Mohammad Murtaza Yaqub, Mohammad Shahzaib Khan, Afraz, Abdul Rahman

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