T20 World Cup: World awaits blockbuster India vs Pakistan clash

India will look to start their T20 International World Cup campaign on a high as they face-off with arch-rivals Pakistan in their opening encounter.

The toss for the high-profile Super 12, Group 2 game of the tournament, played at Dubai International Stadium, will take place at 7:00 pm (IST) and the game is expected to start at 7:30 pm (IST).

The toss is likely to play a crucial role considering the slow-and-low pitches of Dubai, with batting teams losing momentum in the middle part of the game i.e, between overs 7-15.

Team India can take heart from the fact that they have ticked off some boxes in both their pre-tournament warm-up matches against England and Australia, especially when it comes to team combination.

India have a 12-0 record against Pakistan in Twenty20 and 50-overs World Cups and they will hope to extend that streak in their tournament opener against their arch-rivals.

Ahead of the game, India captain Virat Kohli said his side’s impeccable tournament record against Pakistan will count for nothing when they face each other and they will need to be at their very best to overcome Babar Azam’s side in the Twenty20 World Cup.

Like Kohli, Babar Azam too refused to dwell on the past in his first global tournament as Pakistan skipper. “We are not focused on what happened in the past, but looking forward to what lies ahead,” he said.

Squads of both teams

India Squad: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli(c), Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant(w), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Rahul Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Ishan Kishan, Varun Chakaravarthy

Pakistan Squad: Babar Azam(c), Mohammad Rizwan(w), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi, Haider Ali

Positives for India

The dream run of K L Rahul in IPL and Rohit Sharma returning to form in warm up games will go a long way in helping India dominate powerplay and set the game up for likes of middle-and-lower-order batsmen Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya.

Negatives for India

India’s problem is going to be a long tail and the absence of a sixth bowler if Hardik Pandya is played purely as a batter.

Positives for Pakistan

For Pakistan, their two main players will be skipper Babar Azam, an all-format superstar and someone who is destined to be one of the modern day greats. He will require support from Shaheen with the new ball as Hasan and Rauf could go for runs against India.

Negatives for Pakistan

Pakistan is regarded widely as unpredictable when it comes to world cups. On its day, the team can beat anyone, but as numerous experiences from the past show, it can crumble under pressure. Any positive results for the team will depend on for how long in the game they can be consistent enough put pressure on India.

Where to watch

Star Sports Network will live broadcast all the matches ICC T20 World Cup 2021, while Disney+Hotstar will live stream all the matches on its app and website.

State-owned Doordarshan will also live broadcast India matches for free on its terrestrial network.

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