Pakistan look to end India losing streak in T20 World Cup blockbuster

DUBAI: Virat Kohli’s India have beaten Pakistan in all of their 12 matches at the T20 and 50-over World Cups.

Pakistan, however, go into the contest with 10 wins in a row in the United Arab Emirates, their home away from home for most of the last decade.

It will be the first time the two nations have clashed since the 50-over World Cup in 2019.

Of the 12 World Cup losses for Pakistan, five have been at the T20 tournament.

Two were at the inaugural event in 2007 — a tied group game decided by a ‘bowl-out’ and a five-run loss in the final.

“To be honest, what has passed is beyond us,” said Captain Babar Azam on Saturday. “Records are meant to be broken.”

The tickets for the match in Dubai were sold out within hours after the UAE government allowed a 70 percent crowd for World Cup matches in a relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions.

The nuclear rivals have only played in multi-national events like World Cups and the Champions Trophy as strained relations have stalled bilateral cricket since 2007.

Pakistan did tour India in 2012 for five limited-over matches but ties were not fully resumed as the two nations continued to be at loggerheads over multiple issues, with the disputed region of Kashmir heading the list.

‘Full of intensity’

“The matches between Pakistan and India are always full of intensity so we need to perform well in all three departments of the game,” said Azam, who has two T20 International centuries to his name in 2021.

Kohli, who steps down as India T20 skipper at the end of the World Cup, described Pakistan as being “very strong”.

He also shrugged off the significance of his side’s dominance. “These things create distractions. What matters is how we prepare and execute on any particular day, regardless of the opposition,” he said.

“You have to play your best cricket against them because they have lots of talent and players who can change the game.”

Expatriate fans of both Pakistan and India gathered at the Dubai International Stadium desperate to witness what has become a rare sporting clash.

“We should play each other more often. It is such a treat to see these two teams on the cricket field,” Mohammad Ashraf, a Pakistan national working in the United Arab Emirates, told AFP.

Pankhuri Raj Mehta, an Indian who has worked in Abu Dhabi since 2017, added: “I brought a ticket for the game as soon as it went online. I mean you look forward to these contests, especially when you are far away from home.”

Azam, Mohammad Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman will be key to Pakistan’s batting hopes while quicks Shaheen Shah Afridi and Hasan Ali lead a potent bowling attack.

India, who bowed out of the semi-finals in the previous edition in 2016, outplayed England and Australia in their two warm-up matches in Dubai with top batsmen KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma scoring half-centuries.

The pace attack led by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah is a danger to all sides.

Premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed Australia’s David Warner and Mitchell Marsh off successive deliveries in their last warm-up game.

Pandya backing

Kohli backed his team’s match-winners including Hardik Pandya to come good in the tournament despite the all-rounder struggling with his bowling.

“He is getting better in terms of getting prepared to bowl two overs for us,” said Kohli.

India and 2009 champions Pakistan are placed in Group 2 of the Super 12 stage of the tournament along with New Zealand, Afghanistan, Scotland and Namibia.

The top two in each of the two pools progress to the semi-finals.

Despite the anticipation ahead of the game, the political soundtrack is also playing in the background.

During the week, there were protests in India with calls to boycott the match in the wake of the recent killings of 11 migrant workers and minority Hindus and Sikhs in Indian-occupied Kashmir.

Before India took on Pakistan, the World Cup schedule on Sunday got underway with another all-South Asian clash with 2014 champions Sri Lanka facing Bangladesh.

Pakistan dismiss Kohli in thrilling contest against India

For the first time in any World Cup encounter between arch-rivals Pakistan and India, Indian skipper Virat Kohli was sent back to the pavilion by pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi in the Super 12 match of the T20 World Cup on Sunday.

The dismissal marked wicket keeper Mohammad Rizwan’s 101st catch in the T20 format of the game.

Kohli was replaced by Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Earlier, Mohammad Nawaz dismissed Ravindra Jadeja in the 18th over in the Super 12 match of the T20 World Cup on Sunday.

Jadeja scored 13 runs for India at the loss of 13 bowls and was replaced

India finally scored over 100 by the end of 16th over in a thrilling clash against Pakistan in the Super 12 match of the T20 World Cup on Sunday.

Pakistan has been on a roll, with its bowlers claiming four Indian wickets in 13 overs.

The latest wicket had been claimed by Shahdab Khan who dismissed Rishabh Pant after he scored 39 runs at the loss of 30 balls and was replaced by Ravindra Jadeja in the field.

Hasan Ali had sent Suryakumar Yadav back to the pavilion after Pakistan took three early wickets against arch-rival India in the Super 12 match of the T20 World Cup on Sunday.

Yadav had scored a 11-runs at the loss of eight balls and was replaced by Rishabh Pant in the field.

Earlier, Shaheen Shah Afridi had been on a roll, claimed two early wicket for Pakistan against arch-rival India in the Super 12 match of the T20 World Cup on Sunday.

The Pakistani pacer had sent opener Rohit Sharma back to the pavilion after he managed to score only one run. He was replaced by skipper Virat Kohli.

Afridi had claimed another wicket of K Rahul as he departed for just three runs. Suryakumar Yadav replaced Rahul in the ground.

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam had won the toss and elected to bowl first.

The two sides last clashed three years ago in the 2019 50-over World Cup.

The buzz around the game underlines the enduring appeal of the match-up between the subcontinent’s feuding neighbours.

While Pakistan captain Babar Azam and Indian counterpart Virat Kohli have called it just another game, but that is clearly not the case.

Virat Kohli-led India has beaten Pakistan in all of their 12 matches at the T20 and 50-over World Cups.

Pakistan, however, go into the contest with 10 wins in a row in the United Arab Emirates, their home away from home for most of the last decade.

Must Read

Sanaullah says PTI founder is a political reality

Says neither ‘he could eliminate us nor could we, only we can sit and hold talks’ Claims he not seeing PTI’s founder out...