India face Pakistan in high-octane Asia Cup clash
Mirpur (Bangladesh), Feb 26 (IANS) On a high after a positive start to their Asia Cup campaign, India will aim to keep their winning momentum going when they take on arch-rivals Pakistan in their second Twenty20 International at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium here on Saturday.
India defeated hosts Bangladesh by 45 runs in the opener on Wednesday, thanks to Rohit Sharma’s flamboyant innings of 83 runs, which was followed by some good bowling performances led by veteran pacer Ashish Nehra.
This is the first this iconic tournament is being played in the Twenty20 format. All the earlier editions were One-Day Internationals (ODI).
Form and history are both on India’s side. The 2007 World Twenty20 champions have met Pakistan on six occasions in the shortest format of the game where India have outclassed their neighbours five times, including the unforgettable 2007 World T20 final in Johannesburg which India won by five runs in the last over.
The two teams last met here at the same ground in the 2014 World Twenty20, which India won by seven wickets.
But come Saturday, it will be a fresh start for both the teams as Pakistan will aim to keep aside their poor show against India and hope to register a win in their first match of the 2016 Asia Cup.
The 2009 World T20 winners will depend on their charismatic all-rounder skipper Shahid Afridi to deliver for the side alongside experienced Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik.
But all eyes will be on pacer Mohammad Amir, who made a successful comeback to international cricket recently after being convicted for spot fixing.
On the other hand, India after two back-to-back T20 series wins against Australia and Sri Lanka, are in full flow to knock any opponent out on any given day.
In-form openers Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan will try to give India a good start followed by flamboyant Virat Kohli, who failed against Bangladesh but will be raring to unleash his skills against Pakistan.
The presence of experienced Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, hard-hitting newcomer Hardik Pandya followed by captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni make the batting look extremely strong.
In the bowling department, Dhoni will hope his young gun Jasprit Bumrah along with experienced Nehra and spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will continue their good form.