MELBOURNE: Its unblemished record of success against the arch-rival at the marquee ICC events a thing of the past, a hurt Indian team will be desperate for revenge against a high-quality Pakistan side in a sell-out Super 12 clash of the T20 World Cup, here on Sunday.
While rain is threatening to play spoilsport, it’s unlikely to be a complete washout according to people who understand weather conditions here.
Thousands of fans from both countries have crisscrossed the globe to watch their team in action and trust rival captains Rohit Sharma and Babar Azam to tell you this is another ‘match’ for them but all the 22 players and the reserves know that this is ‘The Match’.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, under whom, India never lost to Pakistan at ICC events, would repeat himself time and again that there is no place for the word ‘revenge’ in a cricket field.
But a lot has changed in the past one year since Shaheen Shah Afridi in an intimidating opening spell gave Pakistan team its first victory in a World Cup across formats.
While Rohit, Virat Kohli or KL Rahul aren’t the ones to forget last year’s humiliation in Dubai easily, the fact remains that India as a team has looked slightly under-cooked in recent times.
India wouldn’t mind going into a match as underdogs and it will be Pakistan, which will have to live up to the high expectations.
Combination is still a worry for India
This has been a trend with the Indian team for some time now -- not having a settled combination. In 2019, it didn’t have a number four even after two years in the run-up to the meet.
And now, one year after the last T20 World Cup, India might have to drop a specialist left-hander (Rishabh Pant) from the top five in order to accommodate an extra bowler.