Match set to be explosive
by Asher Wilson

Scorecard:India v Pakistan
Event:ICC World Twenty20 2012/13

DateLine: 30th September 2012


India vs Pakistan
World T20 2012
Super Eight Stage
Match Preview


India vs Pakistan match is set to be explosive today. With the the two arch rivals pitted against each other the interest is at an all time high. If India loses the match today, they will be out of the tournament, while Pakistan’s chances will depend much on the outcome of other matches.


India lost the warm-up match against Pakistan, and after also losing cheaply against Australia, the come in this match with obvious disadvantages. Their batting is in tatters and their bowling is also a worry. Against Australia, the Indian batting crumbled, and the bowling didn’t measure up to the level of such an important tournament like T20 World Cup.


India's five-bowler strategy was a big hit against England in the group match but in conducive conditions against Australia, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's front-line spinners were hammered by Shane Watson - David Warner duo and Dhoni thought that the short spell of drizzle before the start of the Australian innings as a reason for his bowlers' failure. But the fact that the entire bowling unit failed to put up a semblance of a fight came as a surprise. From Ravichandran Ashwin to Piyush Chawla, everyone bowled half-trackers and full-tosses which proved to be cannon fodder for the two dashing 'Ws' of Australian cricket.


Although Dhoni may persist with his five bowler strategy, it will be very surprising if leggie Chawla gets another chance in the tournament. Pakistan are far superior players of spin bowling and consistency has never been Chawla's forte as he is primarily a rhythm bowler. On their day, the likes of Imran Nazir, Nasir Jamshed and Mohammad Hafeez can take Chawla to the cleaners, something Dhoni can't afford at this juncture of the tournament.


The Indian team also has their share of batting worries and it will be interesting to know whether Dhoni will persist with Irfan Pathan as the makeshift opener and keep Virender Sehwag out of the equation. Meanwhile several cricket commentators and former Indian players have questioned the inclusion of Yuvraj Singh and exclusion of Sehwag in the match against Australia. Sanjay Manjarekar told a cricket news portal “My team would have Sehwag opening the innings, especially against Australia. I think it was an opportunity missed, because that was the kind of attack Sehwag likes on this kind of a pitch. I would have dropped Yuvraj Singh from my team in that last match, purely because we have seen in the last few matches Yuvraj Singh is still not quite 70% or 80%, maybe it is time now to slowly get him to work on his fitness, keep him involved in Indian cricket, but leaving out Sehwag was not such a good idea because he does what you need right at the start of the innings: put the opposition under pressure.”


On the other hand Pakistani team is brimming with confidence after their spectacular win against South Africa. The way Pakistani tailenders performed against South Africa showed their fighting skills against the top teams in the world. They would look to put up an improved batting performance as it was due to sheer brilliance of Umar Gul that they were able to beat South Africa after being 76 for seven at one stage. Talent has never been an issue with Pakistan cricket as they have had that in abundance but consistency has been the problem.


While they employed four spinners against South Africa, they might not use rookie slow left-arm orthodox bowler Raza Hasan against India. While skipper Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal are automatic choices, there is a chance that Pakistan may play Mohammad Sami who, with his raw pace, can be a bit of an enforcer. The only problem for Pakistan has been Afridi's sharp dip in form with the willow which at times does hamper Pakistan's batting prospects. Afridi's propensity of playing high-risk-no-gain kind of strokes have always put his team in trouble and it was not an exception against South Africa.


A lot will also depend on Pakistan's most talented young batsman Umar Akmal who on his day can take apart any bowling attack in the world. Skipper Hafeez's consistency, Ajmal's tricks and Shoaib Malik's calming presence are certain positive aspects for the team.


But Indian team has always performed better than expected when it is pitted against Pakistan and mostly wins matches when the team seems down and out. With Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Sharma and Dhoni performing with the bat, no team in the world can dream of beating them. The match is of equals and the one who performs better than the other on the day will win the match.


India (From): Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt; wk), Gautam Gambhir, Ravichandran Ashwin, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Piyush Chawla, Ashok Dinda, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Virat Kohli, Irfan Pathan, Suresh Raina, Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Yuvraj Singh.


Pakistan (From): Mohammad Hafeez (capt.), Imran Nazir, Kamran Akmal (wk), Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Nasir Jamshed, Saeed Ajmal, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Akmal, Umar Gul, Yasir Arafat, Abdul Razzaq, Mohammad Sami, Asad Shafiq, Raza Hasan.

(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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