india-vs-pakistan-Preview

Having suffered an embarrassing defeat to New Zealand in the opening match of the T20 World Cup 2016, a battered Indian cricket team will look to bounce back in their all-important match against arch rivals Pakistan, at Kolkata on Saturday. The Indian cricket team has been on a roll in T20Is, but their shocking defeat to New Zealand by 47 runs has put them at the fourth position in the ICC T20 World Cup 2016 Points Table, whereas Pakistan, following their massive win over Bangladesh by 55 runs, are at the top. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs Pakistan, ICC T20 World Cup 2016, Match 19 at Kolkata

An India versus Pakistan match is always going to be one of the biggest in any tournament, but this time around, this clash was mired with too many controversies. Pakistan refused to travel to India for a very long time, and their delayed arrival ensured the cancellation of their tour match against Bengal. However, Shahid Afridi and his men displayed no rustiness as they scored more than 200 against Bangladesh, and registered an emphatic win to reach the top spot in Group 2 of ICC T20 World Cup 2016 Points Table for Group 2.

This match was originally slated to be played at Dharamsala, but a loose statement by Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister over providing security sparked another drama in Indian and Pakistani cricket as well as political circles. The Pakistanis sent an inspection team to India, which recommended that the game should either be moved to Kolkata or Mohali. Sourav Ganguly’s personal guarantee of ensuring security to PCB Chief Shahryar Khan too played a big role. ALSO READ: India vs Pakistan, T20 World Cup 2016, Match 19 at Eden Gardens: India’s Likely XI

Pakistan have been based in Kolkata ever since their arrival in India. They have an excellent record at the iconic Eden Gardens, where they have not lost any limited-overs match to India, winning four matches out of four.

If Pakistan have a splendid record at the Eden Gardens, India’s impeccable record against Pakistan in ICC World Cup tournaments favours the hosts. India have not lost to Pakistan in any ICC tournament match, and this game too will have their reputation at stake. ALSO READ: India vs Pakistan, T20 World Cup 2016: Hosts aim to bounce back after loss against New Zealand in opening match

Talking about the teams, India will like to forget their opening match and take it as a wake-up call. Indian batsmen failed miserably against New Zealand spinners, but are not likely to face any such challenge in this game. Pakistan rely heavily on fast bowlers, especially Mohammad Aamer, and it will be interesting to see if he creates similar kind of pressure like he did in the Asia Cup 2016 match few weeks ago. India will need their batsmen to get back to what they have been doing, and all eyes will be on Rohit Sharma — who enjoys a special relationship with Eden Gardens — and Virat Kohli.

Pakistan’s batting reputation was at stake going into the tournament, but with a 200-plus total, they have managed to shut the critics for a while. Pakistan would want to produce a similar batting performance, as the pitch is not expected to favour the bowlers a lot. Both India and Pakistan know that batting first will be crucial, and thus, the toss becomes even more important.

India and Pakistan’s Women’s teams will play earlier in the day, at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, New Delhi, in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2016 match. While Saturday promises to be an interesting day for cricket fans of these two nations, the result of the first game is unlikely to have any impact on the evening match between the men.

Squads:

India: MS Dhoni (c & wk), Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Hardik Pandya, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Mohammed Shami, Pawan Negi, Ashish Nehra.

Pakistan: Shahid Afridi (c), Ahmed Shehzad, Anwar Ali, Imad Wasim, Khalid Latif, Mohammad Aamer, Mohammed Hafeez, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Sami, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Shoaib Malik, Sharjeel Khan, Umar Akmal, Wahab Riaz.

Time: 19:30 IST | 14:00 GMT

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