T20 WC: India - Pakistan will face each other tomorrow in Dubai in their opening game of the tournament.© AFP
Considered as one of the most anticipated cricket matches in the world, the India and Pakistan fixture is yet again upon us. After a gap of more than two years, the two Asian cricketing powerhouses will look to get the better of each other in the ongoing ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 being staged in the UAE and Oman. Both teams enter this tournament with a strong squad and a reputation of being the favourites to lift the title.
India will be high on confidence as they pose a major threat to any side with some extravagant T20 players in the team. Thanks to the recently-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL), the Indian squad members familliarised themselves with the tough conditions in the UAE.
On the other hand, Pakistan is arguably the team that has the most experience of playing on these pitches.
With both teams possessing some big-name T20 players, let's take a look at their record in T20 internationals:
The Indian side is led by the dangerous Virat Kohli, who averages 52.65 in this format. Having played 89 T20Is, Kohli knows exactly when and how to get going and play the situation if the need arises. Apart from Kohli, the presence of KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja provide a significant depth to the side.
In 32 T20Is, Pant has a strike-rate of over 123 and this will only keep getting better as the wicket-keeper batter represents India more and more in this format. One player which Kohli will have a keen eye on could be Ishan Kishan. The opener performed brilliantly in the warm-up matches and could prove to be a vital cog as the tournament progresses.
In the bowling department, Jasprit Bumrah leads the pack with 59 wickets in 49 T20Is. Alongside pacers like Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar, Bumrah can wreak havoc on the opposition batting line-ups.
One thing that can't be done against Pakistan is to write them off. Often dubbed the dark horses, Pakistan possess the ability to spring surprises when no one expects them to.
Led by the charismatic Babar Azam, Pakistan can get the better of any opposition on a given day. In 61 games, Babar has registered 2,204 runs in the format at a breathtaking average of 46.89. He also has 20 half-centuries and one hundred in this format.
Along with the skipper, the likes of Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Rizwan, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez are other batters who possess big-hitting abilities.
In the bowling department, left-arm pacer Shaheen Afridi must be the one India should be most wary of. In 30 T20Is, Shaheen has 32 wickets, but his major threat lies in his wicket-taking ability in the powerplay overs.
Haris Rauf and Hasan Ali are two other pacers who know the conditions very well and have enough experience to trouble batters even on dry pitches through clever variations.
Imad Wasim gives a nice balance to the side through his all-round abilities. Imad has a batting strike-rate of over 145 and has so far claimed 51 wickets for Pakistan in 52 matches.
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