It will be a clash of cricketing titans when India face Pakistan in their second World T20 match at the Eden Gardens on Saturday.
Here’s a look at the five players who will play a major role in the encounter between the two arch-rivals.
Despite the loss to New Zealand in the opener, captain MS Dhoni will not be short on belief, such has been India’s record with series victories against Australia, Sri Lanka and at the Asia Cup. India’s record against Pakistan at World Cups will also reassure the skipper.
Dhoni knows his team inside out and with the pitch favouring the Indian spinners, he will look to get them to take control of the match. Having regained his finishing mojo in recent matches, Dhoni will be a force to be reckoned with if the match goes down to the wire.
The left-arm fast bowler has been absolutely brilliant since his return to international cricket after serving a five-year ban for spot-fixing and like at the Asia Cup, he will be a key factor on Saturday. In that match, Amir’s fiery spell reduced India to 8/3 in the third over, putting their chase in trouble until Kohli came to the rescue.
The pace spearhead also had a good outing in his team’s first World T20 match where he took two wickets against Bangladesh and his familiarity with Eden Gardens will make him an even tougher opponent for the Indian batsmen.
The in-form batsman is the backbone of Team India’s batting line-up and the inability to take India home in the opener against New Zealand notwithstanding, his brilliant performances in recent series have been instrumental to the team’s success.
Kohli was the highest run scorer in the 2014 edition of the World T20 and over the last couple of years, he has transformed himself into arguably the most run-hungry batsman in the world.
In the arch-rivals’ most recent meeting, at the Asia Cup three weeks ago, pacer Mohammad Amir dismissed the openers early to have India struggling in their chase of a paltry 84. Kohli saw off Amir’s venomous spell, his calm and assured 51-ball 49 taking India home.
Pakistan will surely look to dismiss Kohli cheaply.
The Pakistan captain is one of the most flamboyant batsmen of world cricket and with 1,364 runs and 95 wickets under his belt, he is one of the best all-rounders in T20 internationals. He has played in all the previous five editions of World T20 and his experience will be of great importance for his team in this competition.
Afridi was the man of the match when his team faced Bangladesh in their opener, regaining some of that “Boom boom” flair with the bat and contributing with the ball as well.
He will look to repeat that performance against India on Saturday.
Team India has lacked a death-over specialist for a very long time, but it seems that they finally have the answer.
Jasprit Bumrah has been a revelation in the past few matches and he was brilliant in India’s Asia Cup campaign. Bumrah has already taken 16 wickets in his 12-match career and he will certainly be a trump card for MS Dhoni when they face Pakistan.