Pakistan is set to face-off against arch-rivals India on Sunday at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. India comes into the game having never lost a World Cup game to Pakistan in either the one-day or T20 formats.
The head-to-head record in World Cup matches favours India by a whopping 12-0 record. However, if Pakistan’s recent form, especially in Dubai, is anything to go by, bragging rights seem to be headed toward this side of the border this time around. The Green Shirts are unbeaten in six T20s in Dubai dating back to 2016.
Will IPL help India maintain winning streak?
India has defeated Pakistan seven times in the ODIs World Cups. Sunday’s meeting will be their sixth match in the T20 World Cups with India posting wins in all the previous five matches.
India holds a significant advantage in the upcoming match in Dubai. Indian team is expected to hit the ground running, partially because virtually all of the Indian players participated in the second half of the Indian Premier League that was held in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah, after being suspended mid-year due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
With that valuable experience under their belts, the UAE is more or less a second home to Indian players in cricketing terms. The spin attack is also familiarized with the slow nature of pitches. India’s squad boasts Ravichandran Ashwin, Varun Chakravarthy, Ravindra Jadeja, and Rahul Chahal and a spin bowling unit like that should thrive on the UAE pitches.
A whole host of international superstars will also benefit from the IPL being relocated to the gulf immediately before the T20 World Cup. New Zealand’s captain Kane Williamson, Australia’s big-hitting all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, and England’s skipper Eoin Morgan should excel at the showpiece event after having had a taste of the conditions.
Pakistan’s home-away-from-home factor
Pakistan, for years, used the UAE as a home-away-from-home and managed to maintain a brilliant record in the Middle East.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam underlined this advantage in a pre-tournament news conference. Azam said, “We know the conditions really well. We know how the wicket will behave and the adjustments batters will have to make.”
“On the day whoever plays the better cricket wins the match. If you ask me, we will win,” he added.
In their last clash at the ICC 50 over World Cup two years ago, India won the match in convincing fashion with Rohit Sharma scoring a swashbuckling century.
In the final of the inaugural T20 World Cup in South Africa in 2007, Pakistan came close to beating India Misbah-ul-Haq’s ill-fated extravagant paddle shot was caught at short fine leg after Misbah had dragged Pakistan to the brink of victory.
New Zealand and Afghanistan along with qualifiers Scotland and Namibia join India and Pakistan in Group 2.