India vs Pakistan, Super 12 Group 2, October 24, 18:00 Local, 07:30 PM IST
Venue: Dubai International Stadium
T20I Head to Head: India 7-1 Pakistan (includes India’s Bowl-Out win in 2007)
Preview: Let’s talk about India vs Pakistan at a World Cup then, the permanent gift of the strange ICC draw. It is the cricketing battle that statistics render as just another one. However, in the heart and soul for many fans across the two countries, there is still nothing like it: the main event before the main event on November 14.
It’s a great fixture. India are cricket’s leading team, their big-name players at home in a big-match setting. Pakistan are the game’s ultimate survivors. Nothing unites them quite like the feeling of a being perceived as an underdog.
The future of international cricket back home is once again stuck in uncertainty. Coaches have left this team, blessed with depth across departments, in the 11th hour. An event like this, therefore, is just the place where they channel all the energy, the angst, and whatever other emotions they have gone through, if at all.
If history can be kept aside (can it with these two?) there are also the makings of a great T20 matchup between these first two champions of this tournament. The big two contests in this match will be: Shaheen Afridi vs KL Rahul. Jasprit Bumrah vs Fakhar Zaman.
The setting is just right too. India are the designated hosts, they’ve been here for more than a month playing the IPL. But Dubai has been Pakistan’s backyard for a decade. It is not a do-or-die but both teams know that victory in this first game could go a long way towards securing progression from this group. It’s just a question of which host is a better visitor on the day.
Injury/Availability Concerns: KL Rahul looked to have a minor back issue in the warm-up against Australia but it wasn’t serious to worry about. He also batted in the chase without any discomfort.
Probable XI: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (c), Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin/Rahul Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah
Injury/Availability Concerns: Pakistan have no reports of injury or niggle but they reduced their squad down to 12 for this match. Sarfaraz Ahmed, Mohammad Wasim and Mohammad Nawaz will be left out of this match for sure.
Probable XI: Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik/Haider Ali, Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi
• Virat Kohli hasn’t been dismissed in a T20 World Cup match against Pakistan. His scores: 78*, 36* & 55*
• In T20Is since July 2019, Pakistan have the worst balls per six ratio (24.9) among the eight teams directly qualified for Super 12.
• In the last three years, no one has scored more T20I runs than Babar’s 1173. Kohli is second on the list, with 993.