India versus Pakistan, perhaps the most anticipated clash of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022, will finally unfold at the Melbourne Cricket Stadium on Sunday, October 23. The excitement is sky high with the arch-rivals clashing for the third time in the year, but the fans could be in for heartache if the rain gods play spoilsport.
It is rare that the fans get to see these two juggernauts clashing swords in international cricket. The Asian giants met twice in the Asia Cup, winning one match each. That said, Pakistan reached the final of that competition, while India was knocked out by the eventual Asian champion, Sri Lanka.
Since then Rohit Sharma and his men have dished out some brilliant performances in the shortest format of the game. Team India trounced Australia and South Africa at home and gathered some much-needed momentum. They were clinical in the warm-up matches, especially against the hosts, Australia.
India’s batting seems impeccable with an experienced line-up led by Virat Kohli. In the absence of ace pacer Jasprit Bumrah, India’s major concern will be their death bowling. Veteran Mohammad Shami’s heroic return against Australia in the practice game, handing India a superb win, might have given the team management a sigh of relief. Apart from that the team looks formidable and are touted as one of the favourites for the tournament.
On the other spectrum of things, Pakistan have also bagged some success after losing the Asia Cup final. They played an excruciating seven-match T20I series at home against England, losing the series 3-4. But in the Tri-series in New Zealand, Babar Azam’s men reigned supreme and won the contest.
The return of Shaheen Shah Afridi has given them a shot in the arm, making their bowling lethal as ever. One place of concern is the middle order. With Babar and Mohammed Rizwan carrying the batting on their shoulders at the top, the middle-order woes get covered. But in many instances, the frailties have handed them humiliating defeats, the Asia Cup final was one of them.
Will MCG bleed blue on Sunday or will Pakistan open their campaign with a bang? We are in for a crackerjack, provided there is no rain.
The Super 12 match of the ICC T20 World Cup between India and Pakistan will be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne on Sunday, October 23. The temperature in Melbourne will hover around 18 degrees Celsius and the skies will be covered with clouds. Inconsistent showers and a thunderstorm are expected through the course of the day. The match will be interrupted by rain as the precipitation rate is 91 percent on Sunday. The Wind speed is expected to be around 15 km/h. The match will most likely be interrupted by rain. It will be interesting to see if we get a match with fewer overs or if it is completely washed out.
The Melbourne pitch is known for being a well-balanced venue for both bat and ball. The bowlers will get good bounce and carry in the early stages of the match. With the overcast conditions, the ball is expected to swing. The bounce will remain consistent and the batters will get value for their shots. The spinners might not get much help off the track. The boundaries are huge so miss-hits might end up in the palms of the fielders. The batsmen will have to rely a lot on running between the wickets. India have played four T20 matches at this venue, winning two and losing one, while one was abandoned. Pakistan have a solitary win and a defeat in the shortest format of the game at MCG.
India (IND) vs Pakistan (PAK) Possible XIs
India Probable Playing XI: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Harshal Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal
Pakistan Probable Playing XI: Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Shan Masood, Haider Ali, Khushdil Shah, Iftikhar Ahmed, Asif Ali, Usman Qadir, Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi