One of the most anticipated fixtures in international cricket, arch-rivals India and Pakistan are set to square off again after a gap of more than two years. The two South Asian rivals will face off in the opening game of their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 campaign in Dubai on Sunday. Thanks to the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) season, the Indian squad members have familliarised themselves with the tough conditions in the UAE. On the other hand, Pakistan too are familiar with these pitches, having used the UAE as their home base for a few years.
With both teams possessing players with immense T20 experience, here’s a look at their record in T20 internationals:
The Indian side is led by the dangerous Virat Kohli, who averages 52.65 in this format. Having played 89 T20Is, Kohli knows exactly when and where to get going and play according to the situation. Apart from Kohli, the presence of KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja provide significant depth to the side.
In 32 T20Is, Pant has a strike-rate of over 123 and this will only keep getting better as the wicketkeeper-batter represents India more and more in this format. One player who Kohli could have a keen eye on is Ishan Kishan. The 23-year-old performed brilliantly in the warm-up matches and could prove to be a vital cog as the tournament progresses.
In the bowling department, Jasprit Bumrah leads the pack with 59 wickets in 49 T20Is. Alongside pacers like Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar, Bumrah can cause significant damage to the opposition batting line-up.
Led by the charismatic Babar Azam, Pakistan can get the better of any opposition on a given day. In 61 games, Babar has registered 2204 runs in the format at a breathtaking average of 46.89. He also has 20 half-centuries and one hundred in this format.
Along with the skipper, the likes of Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Rizwan, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez also possess big-hitting abilities.
In the bowling department, left-arm pacer Shaheen Afridi must be the one India would be most wary of. In 30 T20Is, Shaheen has 32 wickets, but his major threat lies in his wicket-taking ability in the power-play overs.
Haris Rauf and Hasan Ali are two other pacers who know the conditions very well and have enough experience to trouble batters even on dry pitches through clever variations.
Imad Wasim gives a nice balance to the side through his all-round abilities. Imad has a batting strike-rate of over 145 and has so far claimed 51 wickets for Pakistan in 52 matches.
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