Saturday, March 19, 2016

Nervy India to Clash with Surging Pakistani Team at Eden Gardens in Kolkata

India Vs Pakistan - Eden Gardens, Kolkata, 19th March 2016 - ICC WT20 Match Preview

After all the uncertainty that clouded Pakistan Team's participation in the ICC WT20 2016, they outplayed Bangladesh quite convincingly - their batsmen putting up their hands collectively before the bowlers put in a strong effort to defend the total.

India, on the other hand, overwhelming favourites of probably reach and every Cricket pundit under the Sun endured a horrific start to their campaign as they capsized to 78 all out in their opening encounter against a fired up Kiwi team at Nagpur.

An India vs Pakistan clash is always big and when it comes with the added tag of being a World Cup match, the stakes are almost unmatchable, the pressure almost unbearable and the winner of this match will take huge confidence and momentum going forward in the World Cup.

These two teams clashed in the Asia Cup T20I recently in Bangladesh and the Pakistani batting collapsed on that occasion on a seaming track. India has some problems early on as Mohammad Amir ran through the Indian to order before Virat Kohli rescued India with sublime batting.

The main clash will be that of the Pakistani bowling attack comprising of Amir, Irfan, Wahab and Afridi against the likes of Rohit, Kohli and Raina. With the Indian batsmen enduring a metronomic brain fade in Nagpur the onus will be on them to put up a better show this time around but it will not be that easy against Pakistan.

The Indian bowlers to need to guard against complacency as Pakistan have Hafeez, Malik and Akmal all in good form of late. Ashwin was not at his best against New Zealand and on a pitch that is expected to afford turn a lot will depend on Ashwin from the Indian point of view.

Bumrah and Nehra will have to ensure that they keep things tight early on and build the pressure so that the spinners can force mistakes of the batsmen as they will look to hit out.

I am especially looking forward to the Kohli-Amir duel part 2, after they played out a fascinating opening round in the Asia Cup clash. Amir will be keen to get one back on Kohli while the Indian batting superstar will no doubt look to stamp his authority on the big game.

This match was shifted from one of the most scenic cricket grounds where one can meditate looking at the snow capped peaks of the Dhauladhar Range in the background to one that is probably a cauldron of noise and chaos as 80,000 people cram into the Eden Gardens. The crowd will back India to the hilt and will give the Pakistani fielders a tough time for sure on the boundary. India must capitalise on the home support and win this all important clash else they are in danger of being thrown out of the party that they are themselves hosting in their house!

Key Battles to Look out for in the #IndVsPak Match at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, ICC WT20 2016:

Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan Vs Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Irfan
Virat Kohli Vs Mohammad Amir
Shahid Afridi Vs Yuvraj Singh
Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal Vs R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja

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