T20 World Cup, India Predicted XI vs Pakistan: Spotlight on Pandya, Chakravarthy as Kohli looks to unleash top guns

  • India vs Pakistan: India begin their T20 World Cup 2021 campaign against Pakistan in Dubai and rest assured, there will be no doubts on Virat Kohli's mind about his side's Playing XI.
Despite Hardik Pandya's shady form, Virat Kohli is likely to persist with the all-rounder. (Getty Images)
Despite Hardik Pandya's shady form, Virat Kohli is likely to persist with the all-rounder. (Getty Images)
Updated on Oct 24, 2021 05:24 PM IST
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By, New Delhi

India will play their T20 World Cup 2021 opener against 2009 champions Pakistan on Sunday at the Dubai International Stadium. The Men in Blue have never lost a World T20 game against their arch-rivals, their head-to-head record boasting of a 5-0 dominance in the rivalry and will hence aim to add to their unbeaten record on October 24 when Virat Kohli and Co. take on Babar Azam's men. The two teams are part of Group 2 of the Super12 alongside New Zealand, Afghanistan, Scotland, and Namibia.

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Here is India's predicted XI for the T20 World Cup match against Pakistan:

1 KL Rahul: Speaking at the toss ahead of India's first warm-up game against England earlier this week, Kohli admitted that it was hard to look past Rahul, to partner Rohit Sharma as an opener, after his commanding form in IPL 2021. Rahul scored a fluent 51 against England and 39 against Australia in the two warm-up ties.

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2 Rohit Sharma: There was never any doubt pertaining to his spot in the XI. Rohit played just one warm-up game, against Australia, where he shrugged off a sluggish start to score 61 off 40. The last two times India and Pakistan faced each other in international cricket – the 2018 Asia Cup and the 2019 World Cup, Rohit sizzled with centuries – scoring 111 and 140 respectively.

3 Virat Kohli: Along with Rahul's inclusion, Kohli had confirmed that he would take the No.3 slot in the line-up. In 16 World T20 matches in his career, Kohli has always batted at No.3 and was the highest run-getter in the 2014 edition, and followed the next edition in 2016 as the second-highest run-getter.

4 Suryakumar Yadav: The Mumbai Indians batter has been struggling to find form, and even managed only eight off nine balls in the warm-up game against England. But bounced back to score a 27-ball 38 against Australia with five boundaries. India would look up to their newest find to chip in with an impactful contribution.

5 Rishabh Pant: Pant has had an impressive IPL 2021 season where he scored 419 runs in 16 games and followed it up with a knock of 14-ball 29 against England. Showing the tendency to mix caution with aggression, Pant could be the perfect player to bat for India at No. 5.

6 Hardik Pandya: The all-rounder's prolonged fitness issue has left doubt over his presence in the XI for the Pakistan game. Neither has he bowled for Mumbai Indians in IPL 2021 nor has he for India in the two warm-up games. However, the management is likely to back Pandya given his impressive ability with the bat at the death overs.

7 Ravindra Jadeja: Jadeja has been in superb form this year, scoring 227 runs for Chennai Super Kings at a strike rate of 145.51 and picking 13 wickets in 16 games at an economy rate of 7.06 in IPL 2021. His presence at No. 7 would ensure India bat deep.

8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar: The veteran did endure a poor IPL 2021 season where he recorded his worst economy rate (7.97). In the UAE leg of the tournament, Bhuvneshwar has picked only three wickets in six games at an economy rate of 7.04. But captain Kohli brushed aside all concerns, saying, "his economy rates still continue to be top-notch, something that he's always been known for and his experience comes to the fore under pressure." Hence, he is expected to get the nod ahead of Shardul Thakur.

9 Varun Chakravarthy: BCCI selection committee chief, Chetan Sharma, called him an 'X-factor' while naming India's T20 World Cup squad. In the UAE leg of IPL (2020 and 2021), Varun picked 28 wickets in 23 innings at an economy rate of 6.35. Since Pakistan haven't seen much of him, Kohli is likely to unleash his mystery spinner over the experience of R Ashwin.

10 Jasprit Bumrah: Like Rohit and Kohli, Bumrah's pick is a no-brainer. In the last two years, he has picked 48 wickets at just 17 with a strike rate of 14.4 in the T20 format. He looked brilliant in the IPL and equally devastating with his toe-crushing yorkers in the England warm-up.

11 Mohammed Shami: Pacers have been more successful in Dubai conditions than spinners hence the addition of an extra pace bowler. Shami has been in an impressive form in T20 cricket, picking 19 wickets in 14 games in IPL 2021 at an economy rate of 7.50 and strike rate of 16.63

India's predicted XI vs Pakistan: 1 KL Rahul, 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Virat Kohli (C), 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Rishabh Pant (WK), 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Varun Chakravarthy, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Mohammed Shami.

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