It was more or less the same Indian team under MS Dhoni that got the better of Pakistan in the World T20 final in Johannesburg last September, and with most of the Indians already having experienced the pressures and expectations of an intense title clash, Dhoni's boys will fancy their chances on Saturday.
For some of these youngsters, an Indo-Pak final is fun, while for others it is just another game. "Any India-Pakistan final is great fun," Rohit Sharma told Hindustan Times after finishing practice, an optional one in which only seven Indians took part.
Rohit has played two India-Pakistan finals — the T20 one and before that, an under-19 World Cup title clash in Sri Lanka in 2006. "We lost in Lanka. But we won the T20 final last year," Rohit added. Ishant Sharma, who will experience an Indo-Pak final for the first time, said; "It is like a normal day for me."
"There is nothing like the excitement or pressure or any such sort about the India-Pakistan final," the fast bowler added. Dhoni said: "It will be in the best interest of the team that we play it as just another game and not put ourselves under undue pressure thinking of it as a final."
Rohit, Suresh Raina and Robin Uthappa had an extended batting session on Friday to prepare themselves for what promises to be a pressure match. The middle-order was hardly tested in the two matches, with the openers doing most of the damage. But as India have shown in the past, the middle order can fall from glorious heights with a thud following the early dismissals of the openers. "It is important to have good starts," said Dhoni.
“It is not always that the openers play for 25-30 overs. It was nice of Yuvraj to settle down and then accumulate runs (like he did against Bangladesh). It is important to have a settled middle order."
In as much as India would like Sehwag and Gambhir to continue their impeccable form, the middle-order does have a crucial role ahead.