Match 19 – 7:30pm local time on Sunday, March 20, 2016 at Eden Gardens, Kolkata
$1.47 at Luxbet.com
Win-loss record: 0-1
ICC ranking: 1st
$2.85 at Sportsbet.com
Win-loss record: 1-0
ICC ranking: 6th
IT’S the hosts who have it all to do as they resume hostilities with their arch-rivals in one of the most highly anticipated games of the 2016 World Twenty20.
India were flogged in the opening match of the Super 10 round, falling some 47 runs short after restricting New Zealand to 126 on a turning track at Nagpur.
Seven of the home side’s batsmen scored five runs or less, with Virat Kohli (23), MS Dhoni (30) and Ravichandran Ashwin (10) contributing 63 in a total of 79.
India’s captain had no qualms about pointing the finger at a “soft” batting performance.
“It was a low-scoring wicket. We restricted them to a chasable score, but it was the batting that let us down,” Dhoni said after the match.
“There were quite a few soft dismissals. The shot selection put a lot of pressure on the batsmen who were coming in later.
“They [New Zealand’s spinners] bowled well, but at the same time I felt we lacked a bit of adaptability.
“We are quite used to playing in these conditions. I feel 126 was a decent score, but it was the batting that let us down.”
Pakistan took full advantage of India’s blunder, defeating Bangladesh by 55 runs on Wednesday to take the early ascendency in Group 2.
The top order was in ominous form at Eden Gardens, with Mohammed Hafeez (64), Ahmed Shehzad (52) and Shahid Afridi (49) starring in a total of 201.
But it’s the quality of Pakistan’s bowling stocks which has led Sunil Gavaskar to declare the Shaheens favourites for Sunday’s blockbuster.
“After the loss to New Zealand, India will be under far more pressure against Pakistan. I feel Pakistan start as favourites for the game on Saturday,” Gavaskar said in the Indian press this week.
“It is still pretty much Indian batting versus Pakistan bowling,” he continued.
“However, with the way Indian bowlers have performed recently, they also won’t be easy to tackle either.
“Ashwin is bowling well and so is Nehra, ever since he has made a comeback. Then you have Jasprit Bumrah. So it will be a test for Pakistani batsman.
“Having said that, it only takes an over and half to turn the game around in T20.”
Gavaskar also mused on the Indian top order’s ability to cope with the left-arm pace of Mohammad Amir, who has picked up where he left off after serving a five-year ban for spot fixing.
“Hopefully Rohit [Sharma] and others know that unlike many other left arm pacers, Amir has the ability to swing the ball back,” the former India captain said.
“Rohit and Rahane were found wanting against him in Asia Cup. So they have to careful for the first couple of overs and once you are set, there is always an opportunity to score.”
Virat Kohli betting markets
This is Virat’s kind of game.
Now India’s best player in all formats, he is one of those guys who seems to save his very best for the big occasions.
And occasions don’t get much bigger than this: a do-or-die clash against the old enemy with the whole cricket world watching.
Besides his skipper, Kohli was the only man to put up any resistance against New Zealand in the debacle at Nagpur.
India will need more of that fight if they are to tame their fiercest foes and keep their T20 World Cup campaign alive.
Man of the match – $9 (CrownBet)
Top match batsman – $5.50 (Luxbet)
Top India runscorer – $3.75 (Bet365)
Over 30.5 runs – $1.88 (William Hill)
To outscore Rohit Sharma – $1.83 (Bet365)
Mohammad Amir T20 bets
Not everyone is happy about Amir’s return to international cricket.
But the 23-year-old seamer has served his time, no matter what the likes of Gramme Swann say, and could be Pakistan’s biggest weapon at India 2016.
A gifted left-armer with plenty of speed and swing in his armoury, Amir has drawn comparison to Wasim Akram on more than one occasion since making his international debut as a teenager in 2009.
His talents were on full display when Pakistan met India at the recent Asia Cup tournament, where he trapped both Sharma and Rahane in the first over before doing the same to Kohli.
The Green Shirts would love another performance like that on Sunday.
Top Pakistan bowler – $3.50 (CrownBet)
Man of the match – $13 (William Hill)
Top Pakistan runscorer – $101 (CrownBet)
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