"India vs Pakistan is never one sided. The intensity is same for every Indo-Pak match."
India and Pakistan will face each other in the 2014 T20 Cricket World Cup at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, Bangladesh on 21 March 2014. The opening match of the Super 10 stage is one that everyone will be closely following.
The Green Shirts should expect a tough match against India, having beaten them only once in T20 Internationals. India has defeated Pakistan thrice in the World Twenty20 competition, including the famous final win in 2007.
An India-Pakistan clash is normally a charged up affair that really takes a lot of energy out of the players and fans. This is a game where momentum swings after every ball and over.
Speaking ahead of this high pressure match, former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram said: “India vs Pakistan is never one sided.”
“The intensity is same for every Indo-Pak match. There will be no upper hand and both teams will go into the match as favourites.”
As both teams are placed in a difficult group (Group 2), this match will have a direct effect on who progresses to the semi-finals. The other teams in this group consist of West Indies, Australia and the Qualifier from Group A.
With cricket fans looking forward to this game and the tournament, lets preview both teams:
Since the Indian Premier League (IPL) got underway and in the wake of India winning in 2007, the Men in Blue have not really performed well at the ICC World T20 events.
They have failed to go beyond the Super 8 stage of the 2009, 2010 and 2012 events.
India might do better on these slower pitches in Bangladesh, as they are similar to the ones prepared for the IPL. With a perfect blend of youth and experience, the team seems better than before.
The likes of Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni make India a very solid batting unit for the T20 format. The recall of Yuvraj Singh will give a good balance to the team.
Traditionally India has been very stubborn with there batting order. Though India has many exceptional batsmen, they won’t be able to play all of them. It will be interesting to see which batting order they go with.
Former Indian batsman Pravin Amre put the ball in the team management’s court as he said:
“Ajinkya is a natural opener who bats in the middle order. Rohit is a natural middle-order player who opens. Let them decide.”
India will heavily rely on Ravindra Jadeja who has made giant strides during his brief International career. Ravichandran Ashwin and Amit Mishra will support Jadeja in the spin department.
The weak link in the Indian team are the seam bowlers. Even though Mohammed Shami takes regular wickets, he is very costly. India’s bowling attack can concede 150+ in T20 matches, which might affect their chances of winning the tournament.
Stuart Binny has potential to do well in the tournament, following some good performances for Rajashthan Royals in the IPL. Playing Jadeja and Binny will give Dhoni more bowling options, which is the need of the hour.
The Indian squad has good individual T20 players. However as a team, the side may lack momentum. Confidence in the team is a bit low, but Team India will be ready for the match against Pakistan.
Pakistan is a popular team, taking into account their previous record in the tournament. Pakistan won the event in 2009 and reached the semi-finals in 2010 and 2012.
Boom Boom Shahid Afridi is a key player who can go on and win any game single handily. Opener Ahmed Shehzad has been batting very consistently, which is a good omen for the Men in Green.
The Pakistan bowling attack is lethal, especially with the evergreen Saeed Ajmal. Afridi and captain Mohammad Hafeez complete a formidable spin attack for Pakistan. The team has many bowling options to play with.
Along with India, Pakistan is definitely one of the favourites for the tournament. The team brings a lot of excitement to the event, especially as they are very unpredictable and fun to watch.
Pakistan has the knowledge and players for these conditions. The experience of Shoaib Malik combined with youngsters Sharjeel Khan and Sohaib Maqsood will bolster the batting. Umar Akmal can also do some damage in this particular format, providing he keeps his cool.
Pakistan, however, will miss Allrounder Abdul Razzaq, especially with his hard hitting lower down the order.
To put in a nut shell, Pakistan has so many players who can do so many things at the same time. The only problem with Pakistan is that we don’t know which team is going to turn up on the day.
India certainly has a psychological advantage over Pakistan when it comes to ICC events. But as they say, every game is a new one.
The Pak-India Takra will set the tone for the Super 10’s. The team that loses this match will have to win all there remaining games.
Every match in Group 2 of the Super 10 stage has a lot of context in terms of how things pan out later on. The eventual winner might just come from this group.