T20 WC: India riding high on momentum in high-octane, star-studded clash with struggling Pakistan

Public TV English
Public TV English
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NEW DELHI : At the Nassau County International Stadium on Sunday, it will be a ‘Super Sunday’ as arch-rivals India and Pakistan will be clashing in their highly anticipated ICC T20 World Cup clash, with plenty of sport’s superstars in action.

Having secured a comprehensive win against Ireland by eight wickets, India will be riding high on confidence and plenty of winning momentum. However, Pakistan on the other hand will be aiming to overcome the blues from defeat to co-hosts and World Cup debutants USA by defeating their biggest rival in the sport.

In the history of the ICC T20 World Cup, both these Asian giants have crossed paths seven times, with India having won six and Pakistan only prevailing in the 2021 edition in UAE, where they crushed Virat Kohli-led Men in Blue by 10 wickets. However, in the next T20 WC clash in front of a jam-packed Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in Australia, Virat and Men in Blue emerged victorious in what is considered as one of the best T20I matches ever. In a run-chase of 160, India was 31/4 and from there, Virat along with Hardik Pandya built the innings ball by ball with a century stand and proved his ‘Chasemaster’ status with a masterclass knock of 82* in just 53 balls, which included a backfoot straight six on a delivery by Haris Rauf in the 19th over, which was named the ‘Shot of the Century’ by the ICC.

Out of 12 T20I games, India has won nine games and Pakistan has just won three.

The game will feature some of the game’s biggest stars and batters. On one side will be the iconic ‘Ro-Ko’ pair of Virat Kohli (4,038 runs in 118 matches) and Rohit Sharma (4,026 in 152 matches) and the other side will feature a consistent pair of skipper Babar Azam (4,067 runs from 120 matches, the highest T20I run-getter) and Mohammed Rizwan (3,212 runs in 99 matches). In this battle of heavyweights, anyone could prevail, but if they all do well with the bat, cricket and die-hard fans of the sport will win, no doubt.

It is also a battle of pace batteries, on one side is an exciting, fast and fiery line-up of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah, who have on many occasions, troubled Indian batters with their pace. But on the other side is perhaps the best pacer in the world, India’s Jasprit Bumrah, who has been in a scorching form since his return to the game last year from an injury, setting the 50-over World Cup and Indian Premier League (IPL) on fire by taking 20 wickets each. To complement him are the new-ball specialist, Mohammed Siraj, yorker and swing specialist Arshdeep Singh and all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who can also put Pakistan under pressure with their pace and ability to do well in big games. The spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel add depth to the squad with their batting while Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav can walk into any team as specialist spinners.

Hardik’s ability to bowl three-four overs of his 140 kmph pace and his finishing abilities with the bat will define how well India do in the game.

Besides him in the batting line-up are power-packed batters like Yashasvi Jaiswal, Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Shivam Dube, number one ranked T20I batter Suryakumar Yadav, who are all capable of smashing massive sixes and playing big knocks.

Pakistan’s ability to soak pressure will be tested. After succumbing to the stress and pressure of playing a Super Over against the USA, a debutant team in the World Cup, their biggest rivals will test them. Pakistan will have to reduce their overdependence on Babar-Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed etc will have to step up in this big game. Rizwan and Babar will also have another task in hand, to keep their strike rate in check, as the pair has come under fire for being extremely conservative at times. The acclaimed pace battery of Pakistan, who has won matches for Pakistan against India and other oppositions single-handedly in the past, will be tested by a world-class Indian line-up in unknown conditions of New York.

India Squad: Rohit Sharma(c), Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant(w), Suryakumar Yadav, Shivam Dube, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal, Sanju Samson, Kuldeep Yadav, Yashasvi Jaiswal

Pakistan Squad: Mohammad Rizwan(w), Babar Azam(c), Usman Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan, Azam Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Amir, Imad Wasim, Abrar Ahmed, Saim Ayub, Abbas Afridi. (ANI)

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