Kolkata: It’s the mother of all games – when emotions run high and when the battle is not just confined to the greens. Call it a high-octane tussle on which millions and we are not talking about money but feelings are at stake.
It’s India vs Pakistan in the ICC T20 World Cup – forget it’s a World Cup contest – even a festival match between the two countries is a prestige issue obviously because of the political consternation.
So, who will have the last laugh today in Dubai? On paper, Virat Kohli’s boys look a mightier force with plenty of match-winners around. No demeaning Pakistan, but in terms of strength, it’s advantage India but on the contrary, it’s advantage Pakistan. We will tell you why…
There are times when you are better placed over your opponents, the latter have nothing to lose which means they walk into the middle positively bereft of pressure (of course notwithstanding the tension aspect). From that perspective, India have a lot floating around – it’s Kohli’s last outing as T20I skipper, the MS Dhoni factor and add to it Ravi Shastri’s swan song as head coach. Each of these guys would be desperate to leave a mark and a loss in the opening encounter and that also to Pakistan would somewhat derail the process.
Secondly, reports of chagrins within the Indian camp would entail upon the entire team to regroup and bounce back with fervour and hand Kohli his much sought-after ICC Trophy. For Kohli’s deputy, Rohit Sharma who is slated to take over from the former as leader in the shortest format of the game, a clinical performance to start off would stand him in good stead.
On a different note, Babar Azam’s boys would be bent on clinching that elusive victory against their arch-rivals in a World Cup and they would be determined to make it count which would further bolster their confidence as the tournament progresses.
Coming from behind, they have the potential to spring up a surprise and make the Indians eat a humble pie and with the dice heavily inclined towards India’s favour, they would embark on the journey with hardly anything apart from prestige on the line.
Didn’t we say, Pakistan have the advantage?