Preview: T20 World Cup: India vs. Pakistan – prediction, team news, series so far

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Preview: T20 World Cup: India vs. Pakistan – prediction, team news, series so far

Sports Mole previews the 2024 T20 World Cup match between India and Pakistan, scheduled to be played at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium.

Week two in the 2024 T20 World Cup will see arch-rivals India and Pakistan face off at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York on Sunday afternoon.

These two form one of the most intense rivalries in all sports, and the temporary 34,000-seat stadium in East Meadow is expected to be packed to capacity for what has been dubbed the ‘Super Bowl on steroids.’


Match preview

© Reuters

When India and Pakistan take to the field, it transcends sport and becomes pure emotion. Nearly 400 million TV and streaming site viewers in India tuned in to watch the previous encounter in October last year at the ODI World Cup, and there have been reports this week suggesting that re-sale platforms have priced tickets for this match at between $1000 and $5000 per seat – all of which are expected to be sold.

India came into the T20 World Cup looking to end their unwanted pattern of near misses in international competitions, having come painfully close to glory in recent tournaments but ultimately falling short at crucial moments.

Nevertheless, the Men in Blue look like they mean business this year and made a positive start to the campaign by bundling out Ireland for 96 runs within 16 overs in their first match, with their pace bowlers securing eight wickets at remarkably low economy rates. The Irish only managed three sixes and eight fours throughout their innings.

Despite the loss of an early wicket in the third over, India clinched victory by eight wickets and with more than seven overs to spare, with captain Rohit Sharma spearheading their pursuit with 52 runs before he had to retire hurt after sustaining an injury to his arm.

India have won six and lost only one T20 World Cup match against Pakistan, which included a famous final victory in the first-ever tournament held in South Africa in 2007, while the sole defeat came in the pandemic-delayed 2021 edition, which is also the first-ever World Cup win in any format that the Shaheens have managed against the Blue shirts.

Pakistan's Haris Rauf celebrates taking the wicket of England's Will Jacks on June 5, 2024© Reuters

Sharma’s injury has brought up a few questions about the state of the pitch here in Nassau County and both games played on the surface have ended as low-scoring affairs. India’s win against Ireland saw a total of 193 runs scored across both innings, which is only marginally higher than the average score in one innings in the recently concluded IPL season.

At first glance, it is a fairly flat and bouncy track that looks ideal for pace bowling, which is something that Pakistan will need to take advantage of after ending up on the receiving end of what many consider the biggest upset in T20 World Cup history when they lost their opening match of the competition to World Cup debutants the United States.

Batting first, the Shaheens bounced back from a shaky start at 26/3 in the fifth over to reach a defendable total of 159/7, with captain Babar Azam leading the charge, scoring a 43-ball 44, while Shadab Khan scored 40 runs off 25 balls, and Shaheen Afridi finished unbeaten with 23 runs off 16 deliveries.

However, the tournament co-hosts, whose only previous victories against Test-playing nations in T20Is were over Ireland and Bangladesh, matched the target set before pulling off a remarkable five-run victory in the super over where Saurabh Netravalkar conceded just 13 runs and claimed a wicket thanks to a catch of the tournament contender by Nitish Kumar.

After a dismal ODI World Cup where they only managed four wins in nine games, leading to an early exit in the group stage, the Shaheens face a similar fate here as a loss to their neighbours will leave them four points adrift of the top two places with three games to go, meaning they will likely have to win all of their remaining games and cross fingers that the group leaders have a complete meltdown in their last three games.


Team News

India's Virat Kohli celebrates after reaching his 50th century, breaking Sachin Tendulkar's record of most number of ODI centuries on November 15, 2023© Reuters

Rahul Dravid announced last week that he would be stepping down as the national T20 team head coach at the end of this tournament and the Indian batting legend will love nothing more than to lead his side to their first T20 title since the inaugural tournament in 2007.

After retiring hurt, Sharma’s participation in this match is in doubt, though he has not been ruled out as of yet. In the event he cannot take the field on Sunday, Yashasvi Jaiswal is the most likely to come into the side at the top of the order.

Virat Kohli, who just earned his second orange cap at the IPL, will almost certainly continue to open the innings despite his cheap dismissal in their opening match, while Rishabh Pant seems to have locked down the number-three spot after two solid knocks in the warm-up game and against Ireland.

Babar Azam has been a steady force leading the Shaheens batting lineup, but to have a chance of challenging India, he will need the likes of Mohammad Rizwan, Usman Khan and Fakhar Zaman to step up here after the top-order trio were dismissed for a combined total of 23 runs against the US.

With the pitch in Nassau County expected to favour the pacemen, Pakistan will likely look for a big contribution from Afridi with the new ball. The left-arm speedster has taken 34 wickets in powerplays since 2019, which is the second-most of any bowler in T20s over the period, only behind New Zealand’s Tim Southee (39).

India squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj

Pakistan squad: Babar Azam (c), Abrar Ahmed, Azam Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Khan


Series so far

India

Match One: India won by 8 wickets
Ireland: 96 (16)
India: 97/2 (12.2)

Pakistan

Match One: Pakistan lost the Super Over by 5 runs
Pakistan: 159/7 & 13/1
United States: 159/3 & 18/1


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We say: India to win

India come into this match off the back of a commanding performance against Ireland and look set to go deep in this tournament, with their players looking match-sharp, having only just completed the 2024 Indian Premier League season.

Pakistan, on the other hand, will arrive in New York likely still feeling the effects of their massive opening-game disappointment, and their performance in that match combined with their recent record suggests they will struggle to overcome the Men in Blue in this one.

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