It is clearly a battle between India’s strong batting line-up versus Pakistan’s lethal bowling brigade as they resume their fierce rivalry today with the first of the two T20 Internationals at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium
While the hosts boast of some terrific batsmen like Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina, Pakistan have the likes of Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul and world’s top-ranked spinner Saeed Ajmal in their bowling line-up.
“Both teams are evenly placed and the team that plays better will win. It will be important to see how individuals perform, what kind of a platform they give each other. The part-timers also need to contribute at the same time,” India skipper Dhoni said on Christmas eve.
Pakistan skipper Mohammed Hafeez sounded confident of tackling the world-famous Indian batters. “India’s batting is well known all over the world as being extremely good. But winning or losing does not depend only on batting. Bowling will also have a major role. When we see our team, both batting and bowling is very good. So, our bowlers can negotiate the strong Indian batting line-up,” Hafeez told reporters at the pre-match press conference.
Pundits have touted Ajmal as the x-factor for Pakistan, but Hafeez was cautious: “We want him (Ajmal) to stay at the peak. We don’t want to put too much pressure on him. At the same time, other bowlers also have to take wickets to give confidence to him.”
Meanwhile, Dhoni said the focus will be on getting a good start. “We do not set a target before the start of the match, but plan it after every five to six overs. Our first focus is to get off to a good start,” he said.
Though India failed to win the T20 series against England, Dhoni felt the two games have helped his players get into the groove. “T20 is slightly different. You have to be a bit unorthodox and try a few different things. It is different from the longer format. So, I think a few games will give us time to get into the groove and get out of it,” he said.
Dhoni has been playing non-stop cricket since the tour of England in 2011. But he has no plans for a break at the moment. “Most of the time, I am not even aware of what the date is. We just keep playing the games and we know there’s a match around the corner in two-three days. And if you are representing your country, it’s important to be at your best.
“Sometimes the body does protest, and you know that if you don’t rest then, you might get injured. At that time, you may want to take a break and maybe miss a series,” he signed off.