New Delhi: India and Pakistan are set to clash in a mega battle in the ongoing ICC World Twenty20 match at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata on Saturday.
The arch-rivals met recently at the Asia Cup T20Is and India emerged victorious in Mirpur, Dhaka. Pakistan have won their opening match of the coveted tournament by beating Bangladesh convincingly, whereas India suffered a shock defeat against New Zealand. Therefore the onus on India to win this tie is huge as a loss would mean a pre-mature exit.
Although players will go and play their normal game in this highly pressure game, a packed Eden Gardens will be lively and tense at the same time.
Pakistan are accustomed to the Kolkata conditions given their warm-up match against Sri Lanka and then the Group encounter against Bangladesh played here. For India, it will be a better scenario than Nagpur, where they were all down and dusted by the Black Caps in a rank-turner.
Several high-profile players will hope to get their roles set in the tie from both teams in this crucial mother of all battles.
We look at players who could go on to make the difference for their respective sides on Saturday.
Virat Kohli (India): Kohli is a big match player and the Indio-Pak scenario provides him another platform to go out and make the difference. Kohli helped India win the last encounter against Pakistan in the Asia Cup and his strong character is a big boost for this side. His battle against Pakistan's fast bowlers in finding the gaps will be key here at the Eden Gardens.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (India): The Indian skipper's role as a finisher would be crucial when India bat either first or second in the game. Dhoni is still one of the most beautiful hitters of the game and his calm and composed nature would be a telling feature on Saturday. Dhoni's brilliance behind the wickets will also help the side and altogether he would make a huge impact with his decisions.
Mohammad Amir (Pakistan): The young fast bowler's role is so vital for Pakistan especially in the powerplay overs. Amir's main task would be to get early wickets upfront and jolt the Indian batting. His duel against India's top three batsmen will set the tempo of this game. In the Asia Cup he almost won the game for his side and on Saturday he will hope to influence the game in similar manner.
Shahid Afridi (Pakistan): Afridi's presence becomes huge in this gigantic clash and if he could replicate the form he enjoyed against Bangladesh, then India would be expected to be in a huge trouble. Afridi's contribution with both bat and ball could hurt India. Afridi will hope his top order batsmen sets the platform for him to come and launch an attack.