Who will triumph in one of cricket’s great rivalries? Follow all the latest updates from the T20 World Cup
India are taking on Pakistan in a mouth-watering opener to their Super 12 campaigns at the T20 World Cup in Dubai. Such is the strength of the rivalry that the two nations rarely meet outside of official tournaments and have not played in any format since they faced off in Manchester during the 2019 World Cup, where India won a rain-affected match.
India are the favourites to win Group 2, which also contains New Zealand, Namibia, Afghanistan and Scotland, with the latter two meeting tomorrow in Sharjah, and the Indians are arguably the favourites for the trophy itself. But Pakistan are always dangerous and unpredictable, with enough firepower to beat anyone on their day.
Virat Kohli will stand down as T20 captain after the tournament but remains the player to stop and he will come in at No3 behind India openers KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma. Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami will carry plenty of threat with the ball in hand. Pakistan will rely on the batting brilliance of Babar Azam, the world’s No2 ranked T20 batter, while Mohammad Rizwan also offers the potential for big, fast runs. Follow all the action below, live.
Pakistan 24-0 (3.4)
He’s a tough man to get underneath, Chakravarthy, with a habit of hitting a difficult area to strike both short and full of the traditional “good” length, mixing things up. He’s in to his flow well early, helped by two sharp bits of fielding at backward point.
Pakistan 22-0 (3), M Rizwan 14 (12), B Azam 8 (6)
An attempted yorker from Bumrah is instead clipped from just off the floor by Babar, who takes three as Suryakumar Yadav does a floor routine after sliding to collect in the deep.
Another attempt is right on the money, Rizwan pulling out a shovel and just about digging beneath a rapid Bumrah toe-crusher from that awkward contorted angle.
Four from the over, and our first sighting of spin – Varun Chakravarthy has bowled semi-regularly in the powerplay for the Kolkata Knight Riders of late and we’ll see some of his front-of-the-hand mystery early on in his debut at a major international tournament.
Pakistan 19-0 (2.3)
Virat Kohli makes a change – Jasprit Bumrah is probably the world’s best bowler across formats and leads the Indian attack. He replaces Bhuvneshwar.
FOUR! Pakistan 18-0 (2), M Rizwan 13 (9), B Azam 5 (3)
By the way, Hardik Pandya is not out there for India – Ishan Kishan appears to be on as the substitute fielder. That’s a concern for Virat Kohli, with Pandya already unable to bowl due to persistent injury issues.
Oh, Babar! The collective works of the great renaissance artists are less aesthetically pleasing than the Pakistan opener’s off-side oeuvre and he produces his first masterpiece to Shami’s fifth ball, a back-foot punch through the covers for four. Delectable.
Pakistan 11-0 (1.1)
Shami delivers his first ball to Babar Azam, who defends into the off-side and communicates well with his partner to steal a single.
Pakistan 10-0 (1), M Rizwan 10(6), B Azam 0 (0)
Pakistan will have watched the IPL with interest and seen that a fast start can make totals like these much easier to track down. On a pitch like this capitalising while the ball is hard and new may well be key.
Those boundaries are the only two opening shots of Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s first over – Mohammed Shami will share the new ball.
SIX! Pakistan 10-0 (0.3)
A six to follow! That’s not that short, but Rizwan is swiftly latching on to it, squatting in his stance to get underneath a ball that may have grazed the top of the bails and unleash a compact pull over the short square leg boundary. A lovely little number.
FOUR! Pakistan 4-0 (0.2 overs)
A hint of away-movement to the right-handed Mohammad Rizwan through the air as Kumar immediately finds a good area.
That’s a nice shot, though – Rizwan clips a leg-side length ball between midwicket and mid-on, with Varun Chakravarthy just about able to scoop the ball back and prevent a boundary. We check with the third umpire – has he still got the ball when he slides into the advertising triangle? Ah, he has – four runs it is!
Taking the new ball…
…Will be Bhuvneshwar Kumar, a mightily effective bowler when there’s a bit of swing of nip. Can he find it?
How do Pakistan go about chasing 152?
Much may rest on Pakistan’s excellent opening pair. Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan have evolved into one of the world’s most consistent partnership, neither the fiercest ball striker but each perhaps the perfect sort of player for a surface like this.
If they are able to get them close, Asif Ali might be key – he’s the true power-hitter in this side and will likely be given the finisher’s role at six. The usage of Fakhar Zaman will be interesting, too – he’s the sole left-hander in the top order who may try and target Ravindra Jadeja. Remember that with Hardik Pandya unable to bowl, Virat Kohli (!) is India’s sixth bowling option.