Pakistan are coming off a morale-boosting win in the first game of the T20 World Cup 2016 © AFP
Pakistan are coming off a morale-boosting win in the first game of the T20 World Cup 2016 © AFP

India and Pakistan have clashed 10 times in ICC tournaments. India have won all the matches, while Pakistan are still waiting for their luck to shine. The two arch rivals will clash once again on Saturday at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens, in a match which has a lot at stake for both. If Pakistan lose yet another game to India in an ICC tournament, it will not be termed as a surprise; they’ve been on the losing end every single time. More so, Pakistan’s new found confidence will be dented too. But what will it take for them to cross the finish line, for once at least? FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs Pakistan, ICC T20 World Cup 2016, Match 19 at Kolkata

Pakistan’s biggest problem has been their inconsistency. They were poor throughout in the Asia Cup 2016, but their start to the ICC World T20 2016 was totally contrasting. With a top order failing every other day, Pakistan walked in to the T20 World Cup 2016 with just one change — Ahmed Shehzad coming in for Khurram Manzoor. The change immediately reaped benefits with Shehzad notching up a half-century, but what was more heartening for them was the contributions made by Mohammad Hafeez and Shahid Afridi.

Pakistan scored in excess of 200 against Bangladesh, how often a team makes that many in T20 cricket? Even if they do it often, it is very unlikely that they do it consistently. Pakistan would know that to tame the current Indian batting line-up which boasts of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, they will need runs on the board, and for that, the top-order will have to click again.  READ: India vs Pakistan, T20 World Cup 2016, Match 19 at Kolkata, Preview: Battered India look to bounce back against arch rivals

With the ball, Pakistan will face a huge challenge. Mohammad Aamer has been their biggest hope for a while, but the others have failed to step up to the occasion. Success in the T20 World Cup 2016 also depends a lot on how the slow bowlers perform and how much variety do the fast bowlers produce. Keeping this in mind, Pakistan do not even have a specialist spinner in their ranks, and they will heavily rely on their skipper Afridi to chip in with his leg spin.

The experts of the sport and even former players have time and again termed Pakistan’s mental barrier as one of the main reasons for not winning against India. Pakistan have always had the raw talent to tame the best, but they have not been able to do that when they come up against India. Even in the Asia Cup 2016 match at Dhaka last month, Pakistan fizzled out with the bat, despite Aamer opening the door for them to make a comeback with a brilliant spell.

Pakistan would know winning against India is tough, but not impossible. At Kolkata, they have lost only one out of 11 games across formats to India. However, it is the occasion that seems to get the better of them. On Saturday, Pakistan will not be clashing against India’s firepower but also a crowd with a strength of 66,000 people. Both India and Pakistan always go through nervousness when they are set to face off, but somehow, India have always managed to get past the finish line.

Pakistan coach Waqar Younis is spot on in saying it will be India who will be in pressure. Indeed, it is Pakistan are coming off an emphatic win and India are looking to get back on the winning track. But it will be a new day, a different contest, starting from the scratch, presenting both the teams to get their A game forward and make progress further in to the tournament.

(Devarchit Varma is senior writer with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)