18th June 2017, The Oval, Champions Trophy Final:
India chasing 339 to win, Rohit Sharma opening the batting, Mohammad Amir with the ball in his hand.
First ball- Nearly dragged on by Rohit, but he survives.
Second ball- Left well alone.
Third ball- Fast, swinging in, catching Rohit playing around his front pad, followed by the Umpire raising his finger. India 0/1
27th February 2016, Dhaka, Asia Cup (T20 Format):
India chasing a more modest 84 to win, Rohit Sharma opening the batting, Mohammad Amir with the ball in his hand.
First ball- Fast, full, swinging yorker, huge appeal, plumb but Rohit survives thanks to no review system.
Second ball- Fast, swinging in, Rohit playing around the front pad, this time Umpire does raise his finger, India 0/1
The two protagonists of those two clashes are set to meet again in Dubai tomorrow and Rohit Sharma will be hoping for a slightly different result this time.
In the absence of Kohli, the responsibility has increased on Rohit who is the standout limited overs batsman in the team. His ability to play the big innings is well recognized, and the three double centuries are a proof of that ability.
However, he hasn’t always found the going smooth against Amir. With India-Pakistan playing very irregularly and only in World Cup, Champions Trophy or Asia Cup, Rohit and Amir haven’t come across each other on too many occasions, but whenever they have, Amir has held the edge, picking Rohit up 3 items in 5 games across different formats.
In ODIs, Amir has bowled 42 balls to Rohit, conceding 18 runs and picking him up once, on that fateful day in Champions Trophy Final.
In T20s, Rohit has faced 7 deliveries from Amir, scoring just a single run, and getting dismissed both times to Amir.
However, Amir is unlikely to get as much movement in Dubai as he got on those two occasions. In the first game against Hong Kong, he got a bit of a shape initially, but Rohit should be able to cope with that. Amir didn’t quite look at his best in that game and in fact, has only picked up 1 wicket in his last 6 ODIs, but a game between India and Pakistan is unlike any other game, it tends to lift performances of the individuals irrespective of their form.
Rohit on the other hand has had a mixed year so far in limited overs cricket, one century each against South Africa and England but little else apart from them. On the flat tracks of Dubai, he will be looking to get some big scores under his belt. Even with Kohli in the side, the team has looked up to the top 3 to make big scores and now, with a lot of uncertainty in the middle order and no Kohli, Rohit will know his wicket is going to be very crucial.
Who triumphs in this battle between the two upfront is very much going to decide the direction of the contest, and we will know that tomorrow after 5 PM (Indian Standard Time).