The stage is set as the Virat Kohli-led team India is set to face a ‘talented’ Babar Azam & Co. at 7:30pm IST in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Super 12 round, which is underway in UAE and Oman. The frenzy around India vs Pakistan clashes are unparalleled in the cricketing world as critics and cricket pundits were busy speculating Playing XIs, the probable winner, expected runs score, how players will perform in UAE, etc.
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The two-time World Cup-winning coach John Buchanan has shared his Playing XI exclusively with WION for the Indo-Pak match.
John Buchanan’s Playing XI
Pakistan: Babar Azam (C), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Fakhar Zaman, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Haider Ali
India: Virat Kohli (C), KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Varun Chakravarthy, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah
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Buchanan also predicted India’s batting order:
1 KL Rahul
2 Rohit Sharma
3 Virat Kohli (capt)
4 Suryakumar Yadav
5 Rishabh Pant (wk)
6 Hardik Pandya
7 Ravindra Jadeja
8 Shardul Thakur
9 Varun Chakravarthy
10 Mohammed Shami
11 Jasprit Bumrah
A Super Sunday treat for Sports fans. Catch all the buildup to the T20 World Cup clash between India and Pakistan on #DesertStorm on WION at 6.30pm@DiggySinghDeo pic.twitter.com/d2pxvzrBYs
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As far as the stats are concerned, India have beaten Pakistan in all of their 12 matches at the T20 and 50-over formats. The neighbouring countries now square off only in the multi-nation ICC tournaments as the bilateral series between the two has been suspended due to political reasons. They last met in the 2019 ODI World Cup and India last hosted Pakistan in a bilateral series in 2013.
Commenting on the match, Indian skipper Kohli, during the pre-match presser, said that they will need to be at their very best to overcome Babar Azam’s side. “We never discussed it within the team — what our record is, or what we achieved in the past. They distract you. What matters is how you prepare and how you perform on that given day regardless of opposition. These things are added pressure.”
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“The current Pakistan team is very strong, they always have been so. They are very talented, with several players who can change the game anytime,” Kohli said.
“Against a team like that, you need to arrive with your best plans, and make sure you execute it well. We definitely have to bring our A game tomorrow.”
Like Kohli, Babar too refused to dwell on the past in his first global tournament as Pakistan skipper.
“We are not focused on what happened in the past, but looking forward to what lies ahead. It’s important to start well, and make an early impact. We are excited to be here,” he said.
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