ICC Women's World T20: India can’t afford to be complacent against Pakistan
India are the overwhelming favourites to get past Pakistan in their second match of 2018 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.
India are coming to this match after a morale-boosting victory against the more fancied New Zealand. Pakistan, on the other hand, are playing their second match after losing badly to Australia in their opening match.
Not just the current form, but their overall head to head record points to an Indian victory, possibly even an easy one. India have won eight of their ten T20I matches against Pakistan.
However, India cannot afford to let their guard down against Pakistan. Pakistan have proven to be more competitive against in the T20 format when compared to the ODI format. In ODIs, Pakistan have lost all the ten matches they have played against India.
But in T20Is, they have managed to win two out of the ten matches they have played and have run India close in some of those losses too. More importantly, they tend to raise their game in T20 World Cups, where they have beaten India twice out of the five times they have faced them.
The last time Pakistan played India in the T20 World Cup was in Delhi, where they stunned the hosts for one of their most famous victories. It’s true that India have played Pakistan in three more T20Is after that and have won all of those. But that loss in Delhi still rankles the Indian fans and Pakistan could draw inspiration from that win.
Another reason not to take Pakistan lightly is that despite their loss to Australia in the first match, they seem to be in decent form. They won both their warm-up games in the West Indies against South Africa and the Asian Champions, Bangladesh.
India must show the same intensity as they showed against New Zealand. Among other things, India should try and find a way to utilise the services of Mithali Raj, who has a terrific record against Pakistan. She is the highest run scorer in India-Pakistan matches.
The Indian bowling, as pointed out by captain Kaur after the match, was not at its best. They need to be more disciplined.
Unlike India, Pakistan lacks power hitters. So, India should take advantage of that and ensure that they don’t give away easy singles and twos.
Harmanpreet Kaur has never been part of an Indian team that has lost to Pakistan. In all likelihood, it’s going to stay that way even after the last ball is bowled in this match.