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India ride high on England series win

| April 18, 2006, 8:49 AM IST

Abu Dhabi: The Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi will be the venue for the two-match series between India and Pakistan in the DLF Friendship Cup.

The 16,000 capacity stadium built in the middle of the desert will be hosting its first ever international match on Tuesday with India playing in the Gulf for the first time since 2000.

Team India, riding high on the success of a series victory over England, look forward to capitalising on the double benefits on experience and youth.

The Indian team has emerged as a well-knit unit that seems to have got into the habit of winning matches in coloured fatigues, under the astute leadership of Rahul Dravid.

Tuesday's encounter between India and Pakistan will be the 12th between the two teams since 1st January 2005.

After winning 17 of their last 22 one dayers, India can be expected to be the favourites. The youngsters have performed exceptionally and bold decisions have worked wonders for this group.

India played superb cricket against Pakistan in Pakistan and carried the momentum forward against England. India have won four of the last five one dayers against Pakistan, but the overall record still favours Pakistan.

In sport, one man's bad form or injury is another man's opportunity. Virender Sehwag's slump allowed Robin Uthappa to make a dream debut.

Uthappa looked mature enough to handle the demands of international cricket in Indore and his performance has given some more options to a team that has two top players in the middle of a lean patch.

The bowling, on the other hand, looks more settled. Opening bowlers have consistently given breakthroughs and the spinners have not only restricted the flow of runs but also taken important wickets.

In neutral venues, which is primarily Sharjah, Pakistan have got their best record having won 35 out of 60 games against India.

But on neutral venues, both teams will not have either home advantage or the pressure of demanding fans.

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Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4659 119
2 New Zealand 2829 109
3 England 4366 104
4 South Africa 3177 102
5 Australia 3270 99
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7748 277
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4720 262
4 India 8620 261
5 Australia 5471 261
see more