The World T20 starts with the India-Pakistan match, and it’s a great way to start the tournament and get viewers from all around the world glued to the contest.
Although the past has no bearing, India have always got the better of Pakistan in World Cups and the latter will have to do something special here. There were encouraging signs in the practice game against England and most importantly it brought a win for India.
The win will stand the team in good stead when they play their arch-rivals. India have had a few negatives as well from the warm-up games but the positives outweigh them. The form of Suresh Raina will be like a breath of fresh air as he looked good against England and handled the pace well.
He did not try to hook the short ball to prove that he could play it well, but timed it and some of them raced to the boundary. What was also heartening was that the runs came when the team was three down for 40 and he didn’t let the situation take control of his game.
The bowling of R Ashwin will also give confidence, and hopefully he will carry on against the big boys. India will have to sort out their pace department though. It looks like Bhuvneshwar Kumar will bowl his full quota upfront, which is the right thing to do, but the likes of Varun Aaron and Mohammed Shami will have to stand up in the last few overs. This has been India’s problem area and hopefully they can fix it on the big day.
For Pakistan, it will depend on how they turn up. Their mental frame will be important and they will have to find a way to get rid of the horror of the past.
Their bowling attack is superior but they will have to show discipline against this strong India batting line-up. They have some new batsmen as well and they will have to score runs to set it up for the bowlers.
We saw the effect of dew in the Asia Cup but with the evening game starting at 7.30pm, the dew factor will be the same for both teams.
The balance of attack will be the key to success and hopefully India will get it right.
The writer is a former India captain