Pakistan, India lock horns in evening
19 March 2016, Nirapad News: Pakistan and India will face-off in the ICC World T20 match at Eden Gardens of Kolkata on Saturday evening (March 19).
The clash of two cricketing giants was scheduled to be held at Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala.
But, political tensions and security concerns in the weeks preceding the World T20, left the administrators and fans in a limbo.
On March 9, however, a day after the start of the tournament, the impasse was over and the match was tipped over from Dharamsala to Kolkata.
On the eve of the game in Kolkata, R Ashwin of India said that the India-Pakistan rivalry was “probably bigger than the Ashes”, reports espncricinfo.
The two teams had provided a precursor during the Asia Cup in February when Mohammad Amir’s fire was countered by Virat Kohli’s ice.
India grooved to the Asia Cup title; Pakistan suffered a pre-mature exit and were in chaos, with some barbs even directed at captain Shahid Afridi.
Both sides have played just a match in the World T20 so far, but have had vastly different results.
The pressure is now on India who had custard pie smashed on their faces by the largely unheralded spin trio of Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, and Nathan McCullum.
Things seem to be falling in place for Pakistan at the right moment: the top order delivered on Wednesday against Bangladesh, as did Afridi. Once-upon-a-time finisher, Shoaib Malik is back to slip in to a similar role, and can also bind the innings if there is a (familiar) implosion.
The Kolkata pitch has been on the sluggish side, but Pakistan’s penchant for pace is their way of life. India’s middle order, which has been shielded by Kohli’s imperious form, was brutally exposed by New Zealand, and Dhoni conceded the batsmen lacked adaptability.
Can the middle order produce a better riposte if Kohli’s bubble is burst again?
India (probable): 1 Shikhar Dhawan 2 Rohit Sharma 3 Virat Kohli 4 Suresh Raina 5 Yuvraj Singh 6 Hardik Pandya 7 MS Dhoni (capt &wk), 8 Ravindra Jadeja 9 R Ashwin 10 Ashish Nehra 11 Jasprit Bumrah
With the team finding some rhythm and opening its campaign with a big win, Pakistan may not disturb their combination either.
Pakistan (probable): 1 Sharjeel Khan 2 Ahmed Shehzad 3 Mohammad Hafeez, 4 Umar Akmal 5 Shoaib Malik 6 Shahid Afridi(capt) 7 Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk) 8 Imad Wasim 9 Wahab Riaz 10 Mohammad Amir 11 Mohammad Irfan