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'Super Sunday' Showdown!

Updated on: 09 June,2024 07:41 AM IST  |  New York
R Kaushik |

India hold advantage over under-pressure Pakistan, who face must-win situation against arch-rivals in New York today

'Super Sunday' Showdown!

India players during a practice session in New York on Friday. Pic/Getty Images

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'Super Sunday' Showdown!

It’s the showdown the world has been waiting for with bated breath. India and Pakistan don’t play bilateral series any longer—the last was more than a decade back, in 2012-13—and therefore every time they meet in continental or global events, interest ratchets up. This time, ahead of their T20 World Cup clash at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium on Sunday, the stakes are higher than ever before.

India and Pakistan were expected to sail through from Group ‘A’ to the Super Eight stage of the competition, an expectation that has taken a beating after Pakistan’s shock Super Over loss to United States. Suddenly, a fixture that was massive only because it involved the two Asian giants but not because it might influence qualification has become a huger outing with a larger picture looming as a significant subtext. Pakistan must win to keep their prospects alive, a second victory in as many games will propel India to the brink of the second phase, to be held in the Caribbean.

Pakistan skipper Babar AzamPakistan skipper Babar Azam

Inasmuch as victory and defeat are an inevitable part of sport, Pakistan will take time to come to terms with their loss to the Americans. This was a contest not among equals, but through their own sloppiness allied with their opponents’ spunk and desire, Pakistan stumbled to an embarrassing defeat. Now, with time not exactly an ally, they most rouse themselves against their longest, most fierce rivals, a task not beyond Babar Azam’s men.

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Confident Indians

India, though, hold a 6-1 advantage in the T20 World Cup head-to-heads and will be quietly confident of reprising their professional display against Ireland on Wednesday. They have played twice at the Nassau County Stadium, whose drop-in pitches have been in the news for all the wrong reasons. After running repairs by the ICC following heavy criticism of the tracks used for the first two outings, the surface behaved slightly better on Friday when Canada shocked Ireland, though one can’t be sure what will greet India and Pakistan until the first few deliveries are sent down.

Huge toss factor

The toss was a huge factor in South Africa’s dismissal of Sri Lanka and India’s mastery of Ireland; it will have a big say on Sunday too, undoubtedly, given the quality of pace attacks at the disposal of Babar and Rohit Sharma. Jasprit Bumrah has announced himself with the Player of the Match award against the Irish while Shaheen Shah Afridi and his ilk will be desperate to redeem themselves after a sub-par performance against the Americans, who only lost three wickets during regulation play.

Pakistan will be wary of Virat Kohli, as much as anyone else. Kohli has loved picking off the Pakistani bowling and, after a rare failure the other day, will eye a return to run-making ways to celebrate his elevation to the top of the order to partner Rohit, who allayed injury concerns with a long batting stint at Cantiague Park on Friday afternoon.

No. of games India and Pakistan have played against each other in T20 WC. India have won six and lost once against the arch-rivals

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