We Indians love cricket! It’s an emotion that unites us all – people gathering together to see matches, the cheers and winning tournaments are celebrated for days almost like festivals with vigour. I still remember the night when India won the World Cup in 2011 – immediately fireworks were set off and people all around could be heard screaming with joy. But what we equally enjoy other than winning tournaments is the arch rivalry between India and Pakistan in the sports. It’s a thriller in itself with both sides cheering their players on! It’s like a moment of national pride in winning.
So, on that note, let us be reminded that the T20 World Cup has started.
Here, the upcoming Group 2 match on the evening of 24th October-Sunday at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, will have its own unique situations, with pros and cons for both sides.
Let’s begin with India. We recently had two seasons of the IPL being played in UAE with the second half of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 being played in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, after being suspended mid-year. So it can be assumed that Virat Kohli and his men in blue are well acquainted with the slow nature of the pitch. Based on that experience, the Indian squad has been loaded with four spin bowlers — Ravichandran Ashwin, Varun Chakravarthy, Ravindra Jadeja and Rahul Chahal — with the aim to clamp down any power-hitters of the opposition ranks.
But this can also be true for several other players in the tournament from around the world – New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, Australian allrounder Glenn Maxwell and England veteran Eoin Morgan – who are also familiar with the pitch conditions having played in the IPL too.
Then comes India’s stats in the games against Pakistan. India holds a massive 12-0 edge over Pakistan in the cricket World Cup with seven ODIs and five T20 wins. The last time the arch-rivals met was in the ICC over World Cup two years ago in 2019, and India won the match at ease with Rohit Sharma scoring an excellent century.
Before that, Pakistan went somewhat close to beating India in the inaugural T20 World Cup final in South Africa in 2007, but eventually, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s lineup went on to win the game at last.
Looking on the Pakistan side, UAE has been their home-away-from-home for years. “We know the conditions really well,” Pakistan captain Babar Azam told at a news conference before the tournament. “We know how the wicket will behave and the adjustments batters will have to make. On the day whoever plays the better cricket wins the match. If you ask me, we will win.”
His statements are based on the fact that Pakistan is unbeaten in six T20s at the stadium dating back to 2016.
It will surely be an interesting scenario with all hopes of winning. So grab your snacks and get ready for a thriller Sunday evening!
Joining India and Pakistan in Group 2 are New Zealand, Afghanistan, Scotland and Namibia.