India and Pakistan have met each other on 8 different occasions in the world cups, 5 times in 50 over world cups and 3 times in T20 world cups but not once have the Pakistani’s been able to get the better of the Indians. The closest they ever came was when they tied their league match in the inaugural T20 world cup in 2007, but eventually lost via bowl out. The Indians would step on the field on Friday to maintain this record and start their campaign on a winning note. (Read: India vs Pakistan: Thundering encounters in March)
Both the team come into the league stage with a win and loss appease in the practice games. Both the teams have their own strengths and weaknesses and have their fair share of worries as well. While the Indian team will enter the field on the back of a confident win over the English team, the Pakistani lost their last game against South Africa. So that is an advantage to the Indian team.
Looking at team, the Indian team would be happy with the return in form of their T20 specialist Suresh Raina, because he is one of those players who can carry an innings and score quick runs simultaneously. India would also be happy with the performance of their spin department in the practice games. Ashwin, Jadeja and Mishra have all been bowling well and look ready for the competition. Add to that the part time, or rather extra options in form of Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina, both of whom have proved to be more than helpful at various occasions. As far as the batting is concerned, India have always been known with the best batting lineup in the world, and this team is no different, Kohli as always is in tremendous form, while Yuvraj and Dhoni have also been among the runs recently.
The problem that will haunt the Indians is their pace attack, as none of the three pacers who got chance in the practice matches didn’t look settled at all. Also the opening slot has been a subject to debate for quite some time now, and Rohit and Shikhar will have to buck up and perform to their capabilities, if they want the Indian team to progress in the tournament.
Pakistan’s hope on the other hand would depend majorly on their spinners and the batting performance of their captain Mohammad Hafeez and Shahid Afridi. Kamran Akmal has also shown signs of form in the practice games which will only help in strengthening the batting line up. The spin trio of Hafeez, Ajmal and Afridi are amongst the best in the world and are amongst the most economical bowlers in the T20 format.
The Pakistani batting looked settled in the first practice game when Mohammad Hafeez and Kamran Akmal took the team to a comfortable victory against the kiwis. But come the second game, the same old problem has come back to haunt the Pakistani team again, i.e. inconsistency. The whole team got wrapped up for a paltry score of 72 against the South African attack. Also the pace bowling department doesn’t look as devastating as the Pakistani pace department is known to be. The trio of Talha, Umar Gul and Junaid Khan doesn’t seem to threaten a batting lineup as the bowlers of the previous generation.
As every India-Pakistan game does, this game also promises to be an action packed thriller which is going to be “full paisa vasool”. You don’t want to miss any moment of this game as the competition between these two teams changes every second and takes a new turn every moment.
Key players for India
Virat Kohli: You just cannot ignore this player when it comes to his winning ability. He scored a fluent 74 against England in the practice game and looks to be in good touch.
Suresh Raina: The southpaw seems to have found his ever so sweet timing that seemed to have been missing in the recent past. Also he looked very comfortable against bounce in both the practice games.
Key players for Pakistan
Mohammad Hafeez: He is by far Pakistan’s best batsmen in the current side, and seems to love the Indian bowling attack to make his match winning efforts. He is also very good with the new ball and seldom gives away easy runs.
Shahid Afridi: When its India vs Pakistan, you just cannot ignore the possibility of this man bursting into the scene with a breath taking performance. He might just well be the difference between the two sides.