India vs Pakistan, Group 2 of the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup 2021
India will face Pakistan on October 24th at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Group 2 of the Super 12 stage. Apart from Pakistan, India has been pooled with Afghanistan and New Zealand in Group 2, as well as two sides that progress from Round 1 of the tournament, which officially begins on October 17th. The top two teams in each group of the Super12 stage progress to the semi-finals with the final set to be played in Dubai on November 14th.
To date, Pakistan has never beaten India in the World Cup. The teams have faced off a total of five matches in the T20 World Cup with all five convincingly won by India and the most memorable being the final match of the 2007 World Cup (despite the Misbahul Haque heroics Pakistan fell short by four runs). Due to the political mismatch between India and Pakistan, the bilateral series is now becoming an impossible task. The ICC tournament is one of the rare occasions where these two teams face off. As a result, the importance of this encounter is getting even more spectacular.
Team news of India and Pakistan
Ravi Shastri will no longer be the coach of the Indian cricket team after the T20 World Cup and is expected to be highly motivated to finish on a strong note before his departure. MS Dhoni was announced as team mentor. The big news, however, was the return of veteran spinner Ashwin to the white-ball squad. The off-spinner last played limited-overs cricket for India in 2017, after which he was restricted to Test cricket. Since then, the likes of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal (taken more wickets than anyone else in the T20 format) seemed the preferred option for India in limited-overs cricket, but the duo has been left out of the 15-member squad, with Rahul Chahar, the leg-spinner, and mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy making the squad. India has chosen to go with more spinners on the sides than pacers, which goes against the trend as most of the competition is focused on using their seamers due to the pitches in both Abu Dhabi and Sharjah being more conducive to fast bowling.
The other player left out was the opener, Shikhar Dhawan, who captained India in the limited-overs series in Sri
Lanka this past July. Ishan Kishan, who is an option as an opener apart from being a middle-order enforcer, and Suryakumar Yadav, were both included, while India opted for three specialist all-rounders in Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel. The left-arm spinning all-rounder, Krunal Pandya, missed out. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah make the squad as frontline pacers.
Pakistan’s recent performance has been inconsistent and both Misbahul Haque and Waqar Yunus have opted out as Pakistan coaches right before the start of the tournament. Legendary spinner Saqlain Mushtaq was announced as the new head coach with Mathew Hayden joining as batting consultant and Vernon Philander looking after the bowling group.
The last-minute injury of Shoaib Maqsood has opened the window for the experienced Shoaib Malik. Haider Ali, Fakhar Zaman and Sarfaraz Ahmed have been recalled as Pakistan’s think tank decided to drop Khushdil Shah, Mohammed Hassnain and Azam Khan. Zaman, originally a travel reserve, has swapped places with Khushdil Shah. Pakistan’s National Selectors stressed the current form of players in the domestic T20 tournament as a reason to bring changes to the team in the hopes of stability and balance.
Players of focus:
India has picked Varun Chakravorty as a mystery spinner. He has only played three matches in the Indian jersey. His accurate line and length can be a matter of concern for the opposing batsmen. Ravindra Jadeja is our second pick from the Indian team; as a cricketer, he has shown a remarkable upswing in the game’s shortest format.
In recent times Mohammed Rizwan has been going through a rich vein of form. He can be a potential game-changer for the Pakistan team. Hasan Ali is someone who made a brilliant comeback is number two from Pakistan. His skills in the middle over can dictate the term for his team.
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What to expect:
India will start the game as a clear favourite (then again… can any team really be a big favourite in the capricious T20 format?) with a solid opener like vice-captain Rohit Sharma at the top, captain Virat Kohli in the middle to steady the ship, and the inclusion of young guns Ishan Kishan and Surya Kumar Yadav that will add some more spice to their batting order.
Each time Pakistan has faced India, the squad has looked under immense pressure and failed to live up to expectations. The team may have been subject to losing the game in their mind. As spectators, we wish the upcoming match between India and Pakistan in the T20 World Cup to be exciting rather than a potentially one-sided affair. We expect captain Babar Azam to raise team Pakistan’s performance to make our wish come true.
India Full Squad for T20I World Cup 2021:
Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami; Stand-by: Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur
Pakistan Full Squad for T20I World Cup 2021 Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sohaib Maqsood. Stand-by: Khushdil Shah, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir.