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A Classic on the Cards at the Eden – India vs Pakistan Preview

India, Pakistan, World T20, Virat Kohli, M S Dhoni, Shahid Afridi, Mohammed Amir
The one comforting factor for India would be that they have never lost to Pakistan in a World Cup game, having beaten them twice towards lifting the inaugural edition in 2007.

They came in to the tournament as hot favourites, but after the thrashing at the hands of the Black Caps – the contest has been blown wide open. Now, the battle lines are drawn – it’s yet another Indo-Pak classic on the cards at the sport’s grandest stage – The Eden Gardens.

With India still shaken from the defeat against the Kiwis, Dhoni and his men will have to regroup quickly if they are to have a serious shot at making the final four. The hosts will have to win virtually every game from here on to once again be a force to be reckoned with.

INDIA’S PERFECT RECORD ON THE LINE

The one comforting factor for India would be that they have never lost to Pakistan in a World Cup game, having beaten them twice towards lifting the inaugural edition in 2007 in the Rainbow nation and every time since and before. But this time Shahid Afridi and his men would look to make history and do the unthinkable.

CONFIDENT PAK LOOK TO SPIN

Seeing India’s shocking capitulation against spin – Afridi will look to his spinners to flummox the hosts on what looks to be a slow, flat wicket at the Eden Gardens. Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Irfan will look to pile on the pressure early on having struck a good partnership with the ball, with Wahab Riaz and the skipper himself adding variety to this lethal bowling attack.

Afridi and Shoaib Malik will look to apply the brakes and provide the breakthroughs with spin after Mitchell Santner & Sodhi wreaked havoc at Nagpur. What’s more Pakistan’s batting has come good at just the right time, with Ahmed Shezad and Mohammad Hafeez leading the charge in the victory against Bangladesh. The duo struck half centuries, followed by Shahid Afridi back to his vintage best with the bat. Afridi smashed 49 off 19 deliveries to send a strong message to India.

ROHIT & KOHLI HOLD KEY

If India is to keep their record intact, one of Rohit Sharma, Dhawan or Virat Kohli has to play a big innings. Raina and Yuvraj should prove their worth in the line-up with useful contributions, else their place in the side would come under scanner.

The Indian bowling however looks steady, with Bumrah leading the attack with aplomb, with Nehra and Ashwin for company as front-liners. Jadeja and Pandya’s all-round abilities will be much needed at the Eden Gardens, if India have to notch up an opening victory and keep their hopes of a maiden T20 World title on home soil.

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