The world Twenty20 starts in earnest with the big game between India and Pakistan and it’s a great way to start the tournament and get the viewers from all around the world glued to the contest.
The world T20 has always been a major event for the International Cricket Council and once again it promises to be a cracker of an event.
Although the past has no bearing on the encounter, India have always got the better of Pakistan in World Cups and once again Pakistan will have to do something different to get past India here.
There were good signs for India in the previous game against England on Wednesday, which ended in a win for Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men.
It may be a practice game but at the end a win is a win and it will stand the team in good stead when they play their arch-rivals on Friday.
India have had a lot of positives and a few negatives as well from the warm-up games, but the positive aspects outweigh the negative ones. The good form of Suresh Raina will be a breath of fresh air to the team as he looked very good against England and handled pace bowlers well. He did not try to hook the short ball with an attitude to prove to the world that he could play it well, but instead timed it and some of his shots raced down to the boundary.
What was also heartening to see that the runs came when the team was three wickets down for 40 and he didn’t let the situation take control of his game. The bowling of Ravichandran Ashwin also will give a lot of confidence to the team and, hopefully, he will carry it on against the big boys. India will have to sort out their pace department. It looks like Bhuvaneswar Kumar will bowl his full quota up front, which is the right thing to do, but the likes of Varun Aaron and Mohammad Shami will have to stand up and be counted in the last few overs. This has been India’s problem area and hopefully they can fix it up on the big day.
For Pakistan, it’s going to be how they turn up that counts. Their mental state will be very important in this game and they will have to find out a way to get rid of the horrors of the past.
They are a good side in this format and have some dangerous players, who can take the game away from the opposition.
Their bowling attack once again will be a superior one, but they will have to show a lot of discipline against this very strong Indian batting line-up. They have some new batsmen as well, and they will have to score runs to set it up for the bowlers.
The timing of the game makes it an equal contest for both sides. We saw the effect of dew in the Asia Cup, but with the evening game starting at 5.30pm UAE time, the dew factor will be the same for both teams. So the balance of attack will be the key to success and, hopefully, India will get it right.