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 key situations and duels would make the tie very interesting. Here is a look at some of them.
Mohammad Amir vs Shikhar Dhawan: 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 his pace and swing would be tough to handle for a struggling Shikhar Dhawan. If Dhawan manages to see him off then it would be vital for India.
Shahid Afridi vs Suresh Raina: Afridi's impact in the middle overs would be influential and his leg spin and straightners against Suresh Raina will be a key ingridient to watch. Raina is an excellent player of spin and dictating Afridi from the onset will be on his list. Afridi and Raina's aggression will be a keen contest for fans.
Ashish Nehra vs Ahmed Shehzad: Shehzad played a defining role with the bat after his return to the Pakistan side against Bangladesh in the opener and Ashish Nehra will be eager to stop him from making an influence today. Nehra has been successful in powerplay overs and has got wickets. Shehzad will have to play the ball according to the merit in a close fought battle.
Ravichandran Ashwin vs Shoaib Malik: India's most succesful bowler in recent times will have an important say in the game and his duel against Shoaib Malik will be interesting. Malik has been consistent and his experience has brought the performances alive. Malik's ability to rotate the strike and hit boundaries will be crucial as Ashwin will try to stop him with his variations.