A Rivalry beyond Boundaries
Published: Monday, December 24, 2012
Updated: Monday, December 24, 2012 16:12
When Pakistan takes on India in the first T20 game in Bengaluru on Tuesday, it is a historic moment in the cricketing world and for the format itself. This game in 2007 completely revolutionized the game. It made India stand up and take notice of the shortest format of the game. And then history was made. Five years later, the teams square off for the first time in a bilateral series for the T20 format.
It is well known that Pakistan is the most dangerous team in this format of the game. Always mercurial in nature, one can never tell which Pakistani team will show up for the game. Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal are definitely bowlers who can run through any line up on any given day. They have significant game changers in Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Hafeez and Umar Akmal who can take the game away from any opposition at any point of time. Knowing Pakistan, they always have got a talented rookie waiting to burst into the international arena. Their squad is a fine balance of experience and youth dotted with match winners capable of turning the game on its head with both the bat and the ball.
However, India is not to be taken lightly. It’s not the devoid of talent, but the lack of temperament that is affecting the team. An occasion like an India-Pakistan match should be enough to make them raise their standards, but it remains to be seen if talented players like Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja and Piyush Chawla can raise their game. Piyush Chawla has had an exceptionally torrid time with the ball. His contributions are very minimal to the game, if not negative for India. Ravi Ashwin has not performed with ball for quite some time. His variations and knack of taking wickets at the beginning and mid-innings seems to have gone away. If there is some hope for Dhoni, then it is the performance of his star batsmen that have encouraged the team. Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni himself have been in fine touch in the shorter format of the game.
PITCH AND CONDITIONS
The grounds man will definitely put up a high scoring wicket and it will turn out as a battle between the best batting sides. Bengaluru has typically been a high-scoring ground in T20 games. We have seen scores in excess of 200 that have been chased and it won’t come as a surprise if the same happens again. The pitch will be a flat track with nothing in it for the bowlers and it will be that bowler who can vary the pace and lengths very well who will succeed.
Pakistan – Shahid Afridi – there are very few people who can change a game like Afridi does. Since his retirement from test matches, he has improved his game all round. His leg spinners are devastating and his batting still is reminiscent of his BOOM-BOOM days. If he gets stuck into the game, then there is not a chance that India will have a sniff of winning the game.
India – Virat Kohli – he has had a landmark year in 2012 being the highest run getter in the world in all three formats together. The Pakistanis will remember his innings that nearly took away their chances in the Asia Cup. He will look to end the year on a high with a few explosive innings in the T20 format. Also, he will be playing in front of his IPL home, Bengaluru and this will give him enough inspiration to play a blinder.
No one can predict an India-Pakistan game till the last ball is bowled. So let’s just watch cricketainment unfold!