ICC World T20 2014 – Preview of India’s game against Pakistan

Traditionally, India and Pakistan matches have always been exciting affairs and things have often been settled in the dying moments of the game. This makes these games even more enticing prospects especially for cricket lovers who do not care for the jingoism that traditionally accompanies encounters between the historically hostile neighbors. If history is indicator, India has always had the better of Pakistan when it comes to ICC tournaments from the head-to-head perspective. However, trends are meant to be cast by the wayside and all fans across the world will be waiting with bated breath for the outcome of this encounter – to see if Pakistan is able to add to its short tally of victories against India in ICC events.


Recent form: If recent form is regarded as the criterion then Pakistan would be a little ahead considering it went to the finals of the Asia Cup, which was organized recently in Dhaka. However, in the World T20 warm-ups both teams have had similar results – Pakistan won its first game against the Kiwis only to lose to the Proteas.The Indians, on the other hand, lost their first game against Sri Lanka and then won against England.


Likely first elevens: Judging by the way he has selected the team so far the following players should figure in the game against Pakistan:


Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Varun Aaron, and Mohammad Shami.


One can expect that Pakistan shall be fielding the following team in the game against India:


Ahmed Shehzad, Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Sohaib Maqsood, Umar Akmal, Kamran. Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanvir, Junaid Khan, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal


Issues for the two teams: Pakistan has been in splendid form of late with the ball, especially the spinners Ajmal, Hafeez and Afridi, who have been clinching one contest after another with their sterling displays. However, the problem for Pakistan is that if its spinners are not doing well the pacers have not been able to prove penetrative enough. Besides, the batsmen have also shown susceptibility to high quality pace bowling as was seen in the practice game against South Africa.


India, on the other hand, has several problems with their bowling. The bowlers, with the exception of the main three – Shami, Ashwin and Jadeja – have either lacked penetration (Bhuvneshwar) or leaked too many runs (Aaron).In such a situation it has been very difficult for the Indian captains to pick 5 bowlers who could either defend a total or restrict the opponents while bowling first. This has put undue pressure on the batsmen to always perform.


On the batting front, Rohit Sharma has not been performing well. This is nothing new but what is surprising is that Dhoni has not opted for Rahane who has proved himself to be an attacking batsman atop the order for the Rajasthan Royals in Rohit’s place. This strange insistence of Dhoni of persisting with out of form players has often cost the Indian team many games but the lamentable aspect is nobody learns from the mistakes and only the common fans are poorer for it.


Importance of the game: The game is crucial for both the teams since it is their first proper match in the World T20 and a winning start would help them gain some much needed momentum before the encounters against West Indies, the world champions in this format, and Australia, who have recently defeated South Africa in a T20 series.