The build-up to an India-Pakistan clash is invariably about India’s batsmen versus Pakistan bowlers. Despite a lot of effort to find fresh attempts to set the agenda, this trend has rarely changed over the years.
It is pretty much the same this time too. Pakistan have in their ranks five pacers who have all individually produced moments of brilliance in the past. And their clash with India’s top-order batsmen, who are all in great form, is expected to decide the outcome.
In the lead up to the Asia Cup, the top-order was India’s biggest strength in T20s. And Rohit Sharma’s consistency has been at the centre of this solidity. The 28-year-old has been in sensational form, be it Australia, at home against Sri Lanka or in the first game against Bangladesh.
He has produced multiple successful partnerships with Shikhar Dhawan. His resolute display against Bangladesh laid the platform for victory from an almost hopeless situation on a seaming track.
On Saturday, India will face the pace might of Pakistan with Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Irfan and Mohammad Sami in their ranks. The Mirpur wicket is likely to play the way it has since the first game.
The onus will be on the top three to negotiate the pace battery. Along with Virat Kohli, the expectations will be on Rohit to lead the batting. It’s a responsibility he has handled brilliantly, scoring close to 300 runs in the last six T20I innings.
Rohit was ready for the big test.
“It is unusual to see a wicket like the one in Mirpur in the sub-continent. Teams have to perform on whatever wickets (they get to play on). In such situations it is the responsibility of the top-three to deliver. I am glad I could and will hope to continue doing so,” Rohit said on Friday.
“Pakistan have good pacers and have been playing a lot of T20 cricket of late, we need to keep that in mind. We know their strengths (but) we have to focus on ours, which is batting. We are preparing against all their bowlers. They pose a big challenge, and we will see what they have in store for us.”
India have retained the line-up for the past two series, and they seem to have found the mix of experience and youth, with only Yuvraj Singh still to fire.
For Rohit, looking to make amends after missing the 2011 World Cup at home, a bright performance against Pakistan will be perfect motivation in the lead up to the World T20.