Pakistan should overcome an opposition with higher personnel, and with their very own prep having been hit
It is price acknowledging the elephant within the room: a Pakistan win tomorrow could be good for cricket. The longer India’s streak continues, the weaker this fixture’s declare to being an elite, top-tier contest turns into. An India-Pakistan contest that not instructions the identical status can’t be good for a sport that desperately wants this rivalry to ship each likelihood it will get as a result of – to acknowledge the second elephant on this moderately overcrowded room – these video games do not come round as usually as they need to. The explanations for that aren’t cricketing, but it surely’s the game that bears the brunt of it.
Worryingly, video games between these sides at ICC event stage of late have not produced participating, high-quality cricket for one of the best a part of the final decade. The competition has owed its jeopardy for essentially the most half to the historic rivalry between the Indian and Pakistan camps – on and off the sphere – moderately than to finely poised matches between two evenly matched sides. Because the 2011 ODI World Cup semifinal, 5 World Cup video games between these two sides have all produced complete Indian wins, by eight wickets, seven wickets, 76 runs, six wickets and 89 runs respectively. India pulled forward early in all these video games, and stayed there till Pakistan had been ultimately floor out.
For India, there appears to be little to fret about. Their two warm-up video games in opposition to England and Australia tells the story of a facet in full management of their preparations, settled regardless of the varied combos and personnel they will select to deploy on any given day. The second half of IPL 2021 concluded final week within the UAE; India might scarcely have loved a greater lead-up to the event. Their T20 file in opposition to Pakistan reads seven wins in eight video games. On paper, there’s little to fret them, and for all the drama and theatre of an India-Pakistan fixture, no World Cup sport has ever been fairly as predictable as this.
India: LLWWW (final 5 accomplished matches, most up-to-date first)
Within the highlight
KL Rahul has mastered the artwork of getting runs in T20 cricket, however over the previous couple of years, the query that has dogged him is whether or not he has been getting them on the optimum tempo. Rahul mentioned on the finish of IPL 2021 that he did not at all times bat “the best way he wished to” with Punjab Kings as a result of the crew dynamics dictated one thing else. He ended IPL 2021 with a breaking-the-shackles 98* off 42, and within the warm-ups, he is hit 51 off 24 and 39 off 31. Will India’s larger depth free Rahul as much as be a no-inhibitions T20 batter? It’s going to be fascinating to see.
There is not a lot between R Ashwin and Varun Chakravarthy for the primary spinner’s function. The KKR man is probably a slight favorite to get the nod based mostly on latest type. Bhuvneshwar Kumar or Mohammed Shami for a fast-bowling berth can be maybe a toss-up. Neither had been sensible within the warm-ups, although Shami did not bowl within the second, so Bhuvneshwar could edge it.
India (possible): 1 KL Rahul 2 Rohit Sharma 3 Virat Kohli (capt) 4 Suryakumar Yadav 5 Rishabh Pant (wk) 6 Hardik Pandya 7 Ravindra Jadeja 8 Shardul Thakur 9 Varun Chakravarthy/R Ashwin 10 Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Mohammed Shami 11 Jasprit Bumrah
Pakistan have named a 12-man squad already. Considered one of Haider Ali or Mohammad Hafeez are more likely to miss out.
Pakistan (possible): 1 Babar Azam (capt) 2 Mohammad Rizwan (wk) 3 Fakhar Zaman 4 Mohammad Hafeez/Haider Ali 5 Shoaib Malik 6 Asif Ali 7 Shadab Khan 8 Imad Wasim 9 Hasan Ali 10 Haris Rauf 11 Shaheen Shah Afridi
Pitch and situations
The primary spherical of the T20 World Cup noticed the UAE fixtures happen in Abu Dhabi, however the pitch in Dubai is predicted to favour the slower bowlers. Even the quicks are doubtless finest served by various their tempo and bowling extra cutters than categorical tempo, with decrease scores more likely to be aggressive.
Stats and trivia
- India’s present streak of 5 successive T20 World Cup wins over Pakistan is the joint longest within the competitors, together with West Indies over England and Pakistan over Bangladesh.
Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000